Federal Reserve Hacked: Fed Confirms Breach Of Web Site Led To Data Leak

By Alexandra Burlacu email: a.burlacu@mobilenapps.com | Feb 07, 2013 12:32 PM EST

Share This Story

  • Print
  • Email

The U.S.' central bank has confirmed that cyber criminals managed to steal information from its servers during a hack attack.

News of hacked Web sites, databases, servers, and systems seem to be surfacing increasingly often, as the digital age has brought with it numerous advances, but also plenty of malware.

Follow us

The Federal Reserve told Reuters that it had contacted individuals whose personal information had been stolen. The new hack attack comes shortly after the hacktivist group called Anonymous published what it claimed to be the credential of 4,000 U.S. bank executives, reported ZDNet. The Fed, however, did not acknowledge whether the two incidents were related or not.

The document Anonymous published reportedly contains the names and workplaces of employees at numerous community banks, credit unions, as well as other lenders, and it even contains mobile phone numbers and what seems to be computer log-on names and passwords.

On the other hand, Reuters claimed that Fed had issued an internal report stating that "passwords were not compromised." The Fed reportedly suggested that the leaked document had in fact been a contact database designed for use during natural disasters.

"The Federal Reserve system is aware that information was obtained by exploiting a temporary vulnerability in a website vendor product," a Fed spokeswoman told Reuters. "Exposure was fixed shortly after discovery and is no longer an issue. The incident did not affect critical operations of the Federal Reserve system."

As the BBC points out, Hackers claiming to be part of the Anonymous collective have carried out a series of attacks over recent years, targeting U.S. government sites and organizations such as the U.S.-based intelligence company Stratfor.

Anonymous criticized Fed's economic policies and threatened to take action in this regards even from 2011, but the latest hack attack marks the first time the collective has actually claimed success at hacking the agency.

The hacktivist collective claimed that its alleged attack is part of wider protests regarding the suicide of Internet prodigy and activist Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide after being accused of illegally downloading content from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)'s network. Swartz had been charged with computer intrusion, fraud, and data theft. If he were found guilty, he could have faced up to 35 years in prison.

Following the controversy regarding Swartz's untimely death, Anonymous and others have required a change in anti-hacking laws. MIT's own systems have since faced a series of hack attacks, including breaches that resulted in redirecting visitors to a page saying "RIP Aaron Swartz."

On the other hand, the central bank's systems have been compromised before, so this is not a first-time incident. In 2010, a Malaysian hacker pleaded guilty to adding "malicious code" to the Fed's network using one of its regional banks.

The new breach comes less than three months after U.S. lawmakers failed to advance legislation for protecting computer networks considered critical to U.S. economic and national security. Needless to mention, compromising the core Federal Reserve systems could have ravaging consequences for the financial community.

The Fed gathers loads of sensitive financial disclosures for regulatory reasons. If a third-party ever got access to all of that information, the banking system overall would get a serious blow.

Get the Most Popular Mobile&Apps Stories in a Weekly Newsletter

© 2014 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join Our Conversation

Smartphones
LG Google Nexus 5 LG Google Nexus 5 back on sale from Google Play
Here’s the new ‘Microsoft Lumia’ brand, and what will happen to existing Nokia Lumia devices
LG G Watch R starts global rollout, hitting Europe first
Google Nexus 6 UK launch reportedly delayed until December
Tablet / Laptop / PC
Dell Venue 7 and Venue 8 Dell unveils Venue 7 and Venue 8 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean tablets
Retina iPad Mini facing delays, may not launch until early next year
Refurbished 128GB iPad with Retina Display now available on the Apple Online Store
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 – 2014 Edition: Pricing and availability now official
Gadgets
Amazon Logo Amazon reportedly to launch ‘Firetube’ set-top box before 2013 holidays
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear India launch: Pricing and availability
Samsung Galaxy Gear Android smartwatch now up for pre-order in Canada
Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 reportedly in the works already, may debut at CES or MWC 2014
OS / Software
HTC Logo HTC reportedly considering Android/Windows Phone dual-booting smartphone as Microsoft pushes for deeper Windows mobile integration
iOS 7 Chrome Incognito mode leaks private searches due to bug
Sprint HTC One Android 4.3 Jelly Bean already rolling out, AT&T, T-Mobile & Verizon to follow
Microsoft Windows 8.1 now available for pre-order
Internet / Social Media
Google Downtime Google blacks out for two minutes, causes 40 percent drop in world’s Internet traffic
Xbox Music web player is live and ready for Xbox Music Pass subscribers
Facebook Android app collected phone numbers even if users never logged in
Firefox 22 brings support for web video calls, 3D gaming, and Unreal Engine 3
What's App
Flipboard for Windows Phone Flipboard for Windows Phone finally available, but requires 1GB of RAM (VIDEO)
Vine gets major update, lets you upload previously-shot videos & more (VIDEO)
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) finally hits Windows Phone – Available as a free download now
Instagram releases Bolt ephemeral messaging app in select markets to challenge Snapchat
Copyright © 2014 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. mobilenapps
Real Time Analytics