The New York Times reports that the International Monetary Fund [IMF], still struggling to find a replacement by June 30 for its former chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn [DSK], who resigned right after his arrest on sexual assault charges in New York, was hit recently by what computer experts call “a large and complicated cyberattack whose dimensions are still not known.”
The IMF, which handles financial crises around the globe and is the database of highly sensitive information regarding the monetary condition of its 187 member nations, informed its board of directors about the attack on Wednesday. But it didn’t make a public statement.
A number of senior officials with knowledge of the matter told the Times that the attack was equally sophisticated and serious. “This was a very major breach,” said one official, who asserted it had taken place during the last several months, even before DSK was arrested.
Asked about the actual reports of the computer attack late Friday, a spokesman for the Washington-based fund, David Hawley, declined to offer information or discuss the scope or dynamics of the breach.
“We are investigating an incident, and the fund is completely functional,” he said.
Because the fund continues to be at the center of economic bailout programs for Portugal, Greece, Ireland and now possibly Spain – and possesses very sensitive data on other nations which may be on the verge of crisis – its database, notes the Times, contains information that could be used to influence or trade currencies, bonds and other financial instruments in major exchanges around the world.
Earlier this month, the IMF said it had taken safety measures after hacktivist group known as “Anonymous” indicated its hackers would target the IMF web site in reaction to the rigorous austerity measures in its rescue package for Greece.