Join the Club: International Monetary Fund Gets Hacked

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The International Monetary Fund now joins Citibank, Sony, Nintendo and other high profile targets as the latest victim of an attack by hackers. This is all starting to seem just a little ridiculous.

Senior officials told the New York Times that during the past few months, the IMF suffered "a very major" security breach. However, it was only last week that IMF staffers were informed of the incident; a delayed response tactic that’s been common among several other compromised companies.

Computer experts think that the breach may have been made possible by a trick known as “spear phishing,” wherein an unsuspecting target clicks a web link inside an e-mail or instant message that appears to be legitimate but has actually been sent from an untrustworthy source. There’s speculation that someone may have been duped into unknowingly installed malicious software that granted attackers access to the IMF’s internal network.

The attack, which has been called “sophisticated,” also has alarmed the World Bank, which shares information with the IMF—so much, in fact, that the World Bank ended up cutting its data link with the IMF as a precautionary measure. Things have reportedly resumed back to normal, though.

The IMF contains sensitive economic data for several countries "on the brink of crisis," says the New York Times, including those of countries such as Portugal, Greece, and Ireland that have recently been the beneficiaries of economic bailout programs.

Its unknown what information the hackers were able to access, and the IMF has been hesitant on saying where the attack came from, mostly because most nations are members of the fund.

Not that the IMF really needs something like this at the moment. Just last month, former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested and charged for sexually assaulting a maid. Now what a cherry on top.

(via New York Times)

More on TIME.com:

Now Citibank Hacked, Though Admits Breach One Month Late

Who ARE These People? Sony Hack Reveals ‘Seinfeld’ as Most Popular Password

Now Nintendo Admits It Was Hacked, Says No Customer Data Stolen

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