US firm targeted for digital heist, claims cyber group

A cybersecurity services company reports that the group behind a recent spate of international digital bank heists attacked at least one U.S. firm. It would be the first known attempt targeting a US business. 

ESentire claims via a blog post that it thwarted an attack in August of 2015 against a “midmarket US financial company” using malware associated with the group said to be behind the burglaries. 

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The thieves have stolen at least $93 million, including $81 million from the central bank of Bangladesh. The attacks have leveraged the widely used SWIFT bank transaction network and sparked concern by both Congress and U.S. regulatory agencies. 

Reports from Symantec and the British defense contractor BAE place the so-called Lazarus Group behind the bank robberies. Lazarus is best known for North Korea’s Sony hack. 

Correctly attributing an attack to a specific group is difficult and involves a number of judgment calls, since nothing prevents a hacker from using the same malware or identifiers as a different one to divert blame. 

But eSentire is confident it made the correct attribution. 

“The Lazarus Group has attacked a midmarket US financial company. It’s happened, and it will continue to happen,” it wrote in its blog post.