This week, almost every major bank in Brazil has been the victim of a sustained attack by organized hackers. Who is responsible? British financial journalist, Shaun Cumming has some ideas…
As news breaks that Anonymous successfully intercepted an IT security conference call between top Scotland Yard (UK) and FBI (US) officials, rumors of a sustained attack on Brazilian online banking services is trending on the twittersphere.
This comes as a blow to officials who are clearly worried about the threat of modern online activists. It appears they may also be running out of ideas of how to deal with them, legally or otherwise.
Officials in Brazil, both from the governmental and private sector businesses, should be very concerned as well. Brazilian activists appear to have embraced the Anonymous group with open arms. While talk is cheap, actions may become costly and ultimately serve as a good nudge for IT bosses to improve security.
Banks have taken the brunt of the hackers’ meddling. Itau was first to fall victim, as its website went completely off air for a time on the 25th of January. Twitter immediately went into a frenzy of speculation, with most fingers pointing at Anonymous.
But this week, other Brazilian banks to suffer attacks include: Banco do Brasil, BMG, Bradesco, Caixa, Citibank, Santander, and HSBC. With these include both home grown and international names, they all make up some of the most invested companies on the Brazilian stock market. All make up an important part of Brazil’s financial services industry.
The ease of which these banks had online operations tampered with should be a worry to management, both internally and externally. And while activists might view these actions as harmless warnings, I’d imagine the public, which has deposits and savings in them, might not be so thrilled.
Whoever is responsible, a number of questions must be asked. For groups like Anonymous, perhaps Brazil’s banks are simply the easiest target? This needs to act as a wake-up call to Brazil’s financial IT bosses.
As American and European banks are surely more desirable targets, why are all of Brazil’s banks falling victim? Nevertheless, Brazilian banks ARE being targeted.
While Brazil’s IT infrastructure is fledgling, security becomes increasingly urgent when money becomes involved.
Shaun Cumming is a financial journalist based in London. He has strong connections with Brazil and travels to the country regularly. He can be found tweeting at @shaunalexc
Photo by Frank Tellez licensed under Creative Commons