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International Monetary Fund network hacked

Yesterday, The New York Times reported that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has become the latest in a series of high-profile network intrusions over the last several months, suffering a substantial (“very major”) breach, the full extent of which is not known. The IMF has now joined the not-so-prestigious “club” of hacked companies that includes RSA, military contractors, Google (+ Adobe and 32 other, “less forthcoming” Silicon Valley companies), and Sony (repeatedly). (Note added June 17, 2011: Not to mention the Web sites of PBS, the U.S. Senate, and the CIA….) The Times reported that IMF declined to say who might be behind the attack, saying only that the actual dimensions of the attack are unknown and that the Fund is fully functional. (Note added June 17, 2011: Actually these two statements seem contradictory – if the dimensions of the attack are unknown, how can you know that the Fund is fully functional? It takes awhile to “diff” all of that code!)

However, a Bloomberg story cited a security expert familiar with the attack who said that the attack is believed to be connected to a foreign government, and that the attack retrieved emails and other documents. The attacks occurred before former Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested for sexual assault on May 14, according to the unnamed security expert. An internal memo at the IMF said that the network connection to the World Bank was cut “as a precautionary measure” and that the intrusion was not connected to an attack by Anonymous.

The IMF told its employees on June 8 that it would replace their RSA SecurID tokens, although the IMF memo states “Nothing indicates that the SecurID tokens played a role in this intrusion,” according to the Bloomberg story. Last month hackers HAD attempted to use the RSA information to gain access to computer networks at the Lockheed Martin Corporation, the largest military contractor in the United States.

-Bill at

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