A man walks past the Federal Reserve Bank in Washington, D.C. December 16, 2015.
Politicians remain focused on getting re-elected, and stealing taxpayer money. Local police and US law enforcement agencies are unable to address cyber crime. Though government web sites are hacked as often as private corporations, individual citizens remain defenseless to computer crimes due to the negligence of governments. Clueless politicians continue to encourage more and more digital communications and information storage with little to no security.
The U.S. Federal Reserve detected more than 50 cyber breaches between 2011 and 2015, with several incidents described internally as 'espionage,' according to Fed records.
The central bank's staff suspected hackers or spies in many of the incidents, the records show. The Fed's computer systems play a critical role in global banking and hold confidential information on discussions about monetary policy that drives financial markets.
The cybersecurity reports, obtained by Reuters through a Freedom of Information Act request, were heavily redacted by Fed officials to keep secret the central bank's security procedures.
The Fed declined to comment, and the redacted records do not say who hacked the bank's systems or whether they accessed sensitive information or stole money.
'Hacking is a major threat to the stability of the financial system. This data shows why,' said James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. Lewis reviewed the files at the request of Reuters.
The records represent only a slice of all cyber attacks on the Fed because they include only cases involving the Washington-based Board of Governors, a federal agency that is subject to public records laws. Reuters did not have access to reports by local cybersecurity teams at the central bank's 12 privately owned regional branches.
The disclosure of breaches at the Fed comes at a time when cybersecurity at central banks worldwide is under scrutiny after hackers stole $81 million from a Bank Bangladesh account at the New York Fed.
Cyber thieves have targeted large financial institutions around the world, including America's largest bank JPMorgan, as well as smaller players like Ecuador's Banco del Austro and Vietnam's Tien Phong Bank.
Hacking attempts were cited in 140 of the 310 reports provided by the Fed's board. In some reports, the incidents were not classified in any way.
In eight information breaches between 2011 and 2013 - a time when the Fed's trading desk was buying massive amounts of bonds - Fed staff wrote that the cases involved 'malicious code,' referring to software used by hackers.
Four hacking incidents in 2012 were considered acts of 'espionage,' according to the records. Information was disclosed in at least two of those incidents, according to the records. In the other two incidents, the records did not indicate whether there was a breach.
In all, the Fed's national team of cybersecurity experts, which operates mostly out of New Jersey, identified 51 cases of 'information disclosure' involving the Fed's board. Separate reports showed a local team at the board registered four such incidents.
The cases of information disclosure can refer to a range of ways unauthorized people see Fed information, from hacking attacks to Fed emails sent to the wrong recipients, according to two former Fed cybersecurity staffers who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The former employees said that cyber attacks on the Fed are about as common as at other large financial institutions.
It was unclear if the espionage incidents involved foreign governments, as has been suspected in some hacks of federal agencies. Beginning in 2014, for instance, hackers stole more than 21 million background check records from the federal Office of Personnel Management, and U.S. officials attributed the breach to the Chinese government, an accusation denied by Beijing.
Reuters obtained the Federal Reserve's cybersecurity reports from 2011 to 2015 through a Freedom of Information Act request
Hacking attempts were cited in 140 of the 310 reports provided by the Fed
In eight information breaches between 2011 and 2013 Fed staff wrote that the cases involved 'malicious code,' referring to software used by hackers
Four hacking incidents in 2012 were considered acts of 'espionage'; Information was disclosed in at least two of those incidents
The central bank plays a critical role in global banking and holds confidential information on monetary policy that drives financial markets
Daily Mail (UK)
PUBLISHED: 06:00 EST, 1 June 2016 | UPDATED: 12:44 EST, 1 June 2016