A Russian hacking group was poised to launch a cyber assault on U.S. banks, but may have withdrawn those plans after being discovered.
According to security firm root9B, a major Russian cyber gang with ties to Moscow was aiming to hit international financial institutions, including Bank of America and TD Bank in the U.S.
“Our team did an amazing job of uncovering what could have been a significant event for the international banking community,” said root9B CEO Eric Hipkins in a statement.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Bank, United Nations Children's Fund, United Bank for Africa and Regions Bank were also on the digital hit list.
“We've spent the past three days informing the proper authorities in Washington and the UAE, as well as the [Chief Information Security Officers] at the financial organizations,” said Hipkins, who claimed its the first instance an such an attack being sussed out before occurring.
“In previous instances, attacks have been dissected after the event,” Hipkins said.
The hacking group behind the potential attack, APT28, was detailed last fall in a report from cyber research firm FireEye that made a big splash in the security community.
Russian hackers have since made headlines for infiltrating banks around the world.
They played a major role in the worldwide cyber heist that pilfered more than $1 billion from 100 banks over the course of two years. It was the largest banking cyber theft of all time and exposed what some called the first true multinational “cyber mafia.”
Financial trade groups in the U.S. said they weren’t hit by the worldwide sting, a claim disputed by the researchers.
Moscow has been little help to U.S. officials in their efforts to root out local cyber crooks peppering the American financial sector with attacks.