The International Monetary Fund has been seriously hit by a cyber attack that puts at risk the confidential and sensitive information of national economies doing business with the intergovernmental organization.
Initially disclosed by the NY Times on 11 June, the computer network of the Washington-based Fund was accessed by hackers from abroad who were able to retrieve its emails and other documents, Bloomberg said.
The intrusion, which involved the removal of a "large quantity" of data, happened before the arrest of former head for sexual allegations on 14 May, was internally disclosed only on Wednesday.
Sources familiar with the incident did not specify which government the attack was responsible.
Helping to manage monetary crises of many nations, the IMF is "the repository of highly confidential information about the fiscal condition of many nations."
Due to the severity of the infiltration, the World Bank has temporarily quarantined itself from the Fund with whom it shares vital information.
Reports said that the incident may have been due to a technique called "spear phishing" where a user is made to click on a malicious Web link or run a program that will allow his network to be vulnerable to outsiders.
Or it could be that the infiltrator was merely testing the system to see what he can access.
IMF spokesman David Hawley reassured by email, "The Fund is fully functional. We are investigating the incident. I am not in a position to elaborate further on the extent of the cyber-security incident."
Recently, I reported that three cyber attackers were nabbed in Spain.
Details of this report here.