Russian banks warned of risk of cyberattack: a crime or security concern?

russianhackerRussian banks are being warned by the FSB to prepare for possible cyberattacks. That may seem to be a given in these days of virtual criminality, and follows a recent theft of 2 billion rubles ($31.3 million) from correspondent bank accounts at Russia’s Central Bank, but actually Russian financial institutions have until now had it pretty easy. That’s not least because part of the unwritten deal between the state and the hacking community (along with the need to pitch in when ‘patriots’ are expected to attack some foreign target) is that they are fine so long as they don’t commit their crimes against domestic institutions.
 
However, I wonder if there is also a security dimension here. Just as the Central Bank was involved in recent mobilisation exercises, predicated (rightly) on the fact that any major conflict with the West would also be fought with economic instruments, I wonder how far Moscow is coming to terms with the fact that the one-way ‘political war‘ currently being waged against the West might become a two-way one, at least to a limited extent. Those who live by the hack risk dying by it, too.
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5 Comments

  1. Indeed. A very timely and proactive explanation of how crime and national security in Russia need to be viewed through the same lens. Perhaps there is a double ( treble?) bluff here. By highlighting risks against Russian banking – and maybe other – infrastructures, the chances of agent provocateur acts could be increased in order to provide fabricated excuses for retaliation against the supposed foreign perpetrators. False flags, anyone?.

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  2. I’m pretty sure Obama’s recent comments promised a response to the DNC etc hacks.
    His tone was exactly the same as a few weeks earlier when US ships were fired on by Yemeni rebels. Shortly after their shore batteries were flattened.

    I would be very surprised if CIA/NSA teams didn’t implement operations immediately.

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  3. Whatever the US response has been so far, we can be fairly certain it will change in less than two months. Moreover, because this has an economic dimension, the FSB may be rightly worried about retaliation from a Trump administration.

    When China understandably complained about Trump breaking long-standing protocol vis a vis Taiwan, he erupted. Any future Russian hacks may thus be greeted with a mini-cyber war, one which might not go well for the RF.

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  4. It’s definitely great to see you posting these articles again for us, and it’s still very interesting to see how Russia decides to do things like this.

    Now, I very well know you told me that war is not going to happen, but have you also considered that Trump (the orange terror himself) is going to have the nuclear football? And who’s the heck going to stop him when he wants to launch those nukes?

    I mean, I don’t mean to get carried away here, and there’s still a lot to be know about Trump and how Putin will approach him. But what one day Putin wakes up on the wrong side of the best, decides to escalate things with the West, and then things go nuclear?

    And don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking you to look into the future and correctly predict what will happen. I’m just expressing my thoughts to a great expert (like you!) and see what the experts (like you!) think.

    Reply
  1. Mark Galeotti: Russian banks warned of risk of cyberattack: a crime or security concern? - In Moscow's Shadows - CK MacLeod's

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