Two major Canadian banks informed all their customers that they have an ongoing investigation after hackers claimed to have obtained personal and account information as a result of a data breach.
The affected banks are the Bank of Montreal (BMO) and Simplii Financial, the direct banking brand of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). Both BMO and CIBC are among Canada’s five largest banks.
BMO says that this breach affects less than 50,000 of its 8 million customers, and Simplii Financial believes hackers may have stolen information about 40,000 clients.
Both banks were contacted by hackers this Sunday. Cybercriminals claiming to be behind the cyber attacks told Canadian media they had demanded a $1 million ransom from each bank. If the banks refuse to pay, the information, which includes social insurance numbers, dates of birth, and financial information, would be sold to other fraudsters.
As you can see new threats are being used in new ways every day, that’s why we strongly recommend to everyone the install of antivirus for Windows or antivirus for Mac, depending on which version of OS your devices run. If you are a company, please check your network integrity by running various tests like penetration test and ethical hacking tests at least once a year.
BMO, which believes the attack originated from outside the country, says it has contacted authorities and the potentially affected customers.
Meanwhile, neither of the banks have confirmed suffering a data breach, BMO says it’s “confident that exposures identified related to customer data have been closed off.” Simplii says it’s taking the claim seriously and it has quickly implemented “enhanced online fraud monitoring and online banking security measures.”
Until now Simplii has found no evidence that customers who bank through CIBC directly are impacted. “If a client is a victim of fraud because of this issue, we will return 100% of the money lost from the affected bank account,” the bank stated.
It is possible for the hackers to have gained access to the systems of Simplii and BMO, and then use this access to make outrageous claims that are not uncommon in such extortion schemes. There is also the possibility that the claims are legitimate and cybercriminals obtained the information through other means, such as phishing, rather than by directly breaching the banks.
Hackers breaching the systems of banks is not unheard of, keep in mind that financial organizations in the United States, Mexico, India, Russia, and Taiwan were targeted recently in sophisticated cyber attacks and had either millions of dollars or sensitive customer information stolen.
Remember, to be safe and secured in the cyberspace; you must use an antivirus for Windows or antivirus for Mac depending on which version of OS your device runs. As for the companies remember that professional cybersecurity firms are offering good cybersecurity packages that can be used to test your company’s network integrity by running various tests like penetration test and ethical hacking tests.