Hackers hit IMF with ‘sophisticated cyberattack’, reports claim

IMFThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) has suffered a major hack, according to media reports this weekend.

The organisation, already making the headlines following the arrest and resignation of its boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn (whose alleged perpetration of a sexual assault has itself been used as springboard for malware attacks), attempts to oversee financial crises around the world and promote economic development.

According to a New York Times report, senior sources within the IMF confirmed to the newspaper that the organisation had suffered a “very major breach” and was deemed serious enough to cut a computer link between the IMF and its near neighbour in downtown Washington, the World Bank.

A World Bank spokesman is reported by the New York Times to say that the disconnection was taken out of “an abundance of caution” until the nature of the attack on the IMF, was understood. The link was apparently quickly restored, and no attack on the World Bank is said to have occurred.

Coin in World bankBloomberg, meanwhile, claims to have got its hands on a series of internal emails and memos distributed to IMF staff, warning them that computer systems had been compromised by hackers:

"Last week we detected some suspicious file transfers, and the subsequent investigation established that a Fund desktop computer had been compromised and used to access some Fund systems. At this point, we have no reason to believe that any personal information was sought for fraud purposes."

Furthermore, the IMF is said to have told staff on June 8 that it would be replacing their RSA SecurID tokens, used for authentication.

Inevitably, speculation is likely to rise that the attack on the IMF may have been connected to the recent security breach at RSA (which has, in turn, affected the likes of Lockheed Martin and possibly other military contractors) however, an IMF source is said to have told the New York Times that no such link is suspected in this attack.

It seems a single day can’t pass without a well-known institution making the headlines for being the victim of a hacking attack or loss of sensitive data. All organisations need to take the seemingly growing tide of internet attacks as a warning sign, and ensure that they have strong defences in place and that every member of staff has been trained in best practices to reduce the risk.

You can read more about the alleged hack in these New York Times and Bloomberg reports.

IMF boss rape video? Mac malware spreads via Facebook links

Mac OS X malware is being spread by sick messages spreading virally across Facebook, claiming to be a video of controversial IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

The fake anti-virus attack first appears in your timeline as a message apparently posted by one of your friends.

IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn Exclusive Rape Video - Black lady under attack!

oh shit, one more really freaky video O_O

IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn Exclusive Rape Video - Black lady under attack!
[LINK]
IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn rape scandal. Mother of Alleged Rape Victim: Dominique Strauss-Kahn Did Not Want To Be President of France - ABC News

(I have obscured the image used in the message in case it causes offence).

The message’s text refers to the news story of IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn who is facing charges in New York over charges that he tried to rape a hotel maid.

In terms of sick headlines to entrap users, this one ranks right up there. It’s been, of course, a very big news story – and many people have been following the case with interest. And that probably explains why the hackers have used the promise of a video as bait.

Clicking on the link takes you to a webpage, which appears to consist of a still from a sex movie. However, when I visited the page on my Apple Mac I was rapidly redirected to a “Mac Defender”-style fake anti-virus attack, written specifically with the intention of infecting my computer.

Mac malware attack

Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac intercepted the attack as OSX/FakeAVZp-C.

What’s interesting is that up until now we have mostly seen these fake anti-virus attacks target Mac users by poisoning search engine results. But now we are seeing them being distributed by viral Facebook spam campaigns as well.

Mac malware attack

It’s probably not too difficult to put yourself in the shoes of a computer user who knows that they are possibly about to watch a seedy video, only to find themselves facing a screen warning them of numerous security threats.

In many ways this is a genius piece of social engineering to frighten unsuspecting Mac users into installing the software and handing over their credit card details.

It’s just a shame that Facebook’s own security systems are currently failing to stop these links from spreading.

Download Sophos’s free anti-virus for Mac home users. It’s automatically updated to protect against the latest threats. Another step you should take is changing the default settings on Safari – it’s not a complete defence, but it can help a little.

And if you’re on Facebook and want to learn more about spam, malware, scams and other threats, you should join the Sophos Facebook page where we have a thriving community of over 80,000 people.

Update: It’s not just Mac users who are at risk from this attack. If you click on the link from a Windows computer it’s possible you could be taken to a webpage that attempts to infect you with the Troj/Mdrop-DMN Trojan horse.