Wednesday, October 4, 2023

U.S. Banks Brace For Ransomware Attacks


Retaliatory ransomware assaults expected against major US banks. This comes after Russia hit with harsh penalties for invading Ukraine.

On Saturday, tensions between Russia and the West increased. Some Russian banks blocked from the SWIFT international payment system by the US and its allies. They also clamped down on the Russian central bank’s overseas holdings at the same time.

The SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) network is a global financial network that allows money to flow seamlessly and quickly across international borders.

Every day, SWIFT processes over 40 million communications. They make it possible for corporations and governments to swap trillions of dollars. The Belgian-based processing network links 11,000 major creditors and financial institutions from more than 200 countries. More than 1% of those messages thought to include funds from Russia.

Ransomware Attacks

Western governments warn for weeks that rising tensions might lead to devastating ransomware attacks by Russia or its supporters. According to several executives, the recent SWIFT restriction may have been the impetus.

During times of peace, global banks are already top targets for cyber-attacks. They’re beefing up network monitoring and practicing hacking scenarios in drills. At the same time, they’re scanning their networks for dangers and staffing up in case hostile behavior increases.

They’re bracing for a variety of threats, including ransomware assaults from Russia. Before the attacker obtains a ransom payment, ransomware can prevent a user from accessing a device or its files. In the world of Bitcoin, this is a frequent thing.

Cyberattacks will Cost $265 Billion by 2031

In recent years, ransomware became one of the most common cybercrime threats. That is according to law enforcement, security professionals, and governments.

If a ransomware attacker asks money in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, he or she will offer the victim a crypto address to which they must send money.

Ransomware attacks would cost consumers with over $265 billion in US dollars annually by 2031, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. As ransomware attackers polish their malware payloads and related extortion weapons, a new attack occurs every two seconds.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation projected ransomware losses at roughly $30 million. In the year 2021, the FBI received 2,474 formal ransomware complaints.

Cybersecurity Plans

The nation’s largest banks either did not reply to requests for comment or declined to divulge their cybersecurity plans.

Teresa Walsh is the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center’s global chief of intelligence. According to her, US institutions have been discussing risk scenarios based on prior Russian cyber attempts.

Russia destabilized Ukraine through cyber attacks. The so-called NotPetya cyberattack started in 2017 by hackers linked to Russia. Ukrainian businesses were targeted, as well as those in Europe and the United States.

Ransomware could be used to gain advantage during trade negotiations or political issues because of its established effectiveness. Nation-states are either enlisting the help of geographically distant third parties to ensure plausible deniability or making no effort to hide their involvement.

Ransomware authors, on the other hand, will continue to tweak the architecture of their harmful malware. It’s possible that ransomware will evolve into a whole new role in the next ten years. It might be a cyber-weapon used in a geopolitical environment that is always altering.


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