Russia says hackers stole more than 1 billion roubles from its banks in 2017

Cobalt Strike is a security tool used to test the strength of an organization’s cyber defenses, but it has also been used by hackers to attack banks in Russia and Europe. (Reuters)
Updated 13 February 2018
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Russia says hackers stole more than 1 billion roubles from its banks in 2017

MAGNITOGORSK, Russia: Hackers stole more than 1 billion roubles (SR64.63 million) from Russian banks using the Cobalt Strike security-testing tool in 2017, a central bank official said on Tuesday.
Russia is under intense scrutiny over cybercrime following allegations hackers backed by Moscow have attacked targets in the US and Europe, accusations the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.
Russian authorities are now keen to show that Russia too is a frequent victim of cybercrime and that they are working hard to combat it.
Central bank Deputy Governor Dmitry Skobelkin told an information security conference in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk that 21 “waves of attacks” using Cobalt Strike had been recorded in 2017.
“More than 240 credit organizations were hit by the attacks, 11 of which were successful. The amount stolen was more than 1 billion roubles,” he said.
Cobalt Strike is a security tool used to test the strength of an organization’s cyber defenses, but it has also been used by hackers to attack banks in Russia and Europe.
A group known as Cobalt because of their use of the tool attacked cash machines in more than a dozen countries in 2016, using the malicious software to force the ATMs to spit out cash.
Skobelkin said the Russian central bank had sent warnings to more than 400 organizations which were targeted by the Cobalt group last year.


‘Get prices down’ Trump tells OPEC

Updated 20 September 2018
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‘Get prices down’ Trump tells OPEC

  • Trump highlights US security role in region
  • Comments come ahead of oil producers meeting in Algeria

LONDON: US president Donald Trump urged OPEC to lower crude prices on Thursday while reminding Mideast oil exporters of US security support.
He made his remarks on Twitter ahead of a keenly awaited meeting of OPEC countries and its allies in Algiers this weekend as pressure mounts on them to prevent a spike in prices caused by the reimposition of oil sanctions on Iran.
“We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices!” he tweeted.
“We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!”
Despite the threat, the group and its allies are unlikely to agree to an official increase in output, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing OPEC sources.
In June they agreed to increase production by about one million barrels per day (bpd). That decision was was spurred by a recovery in oil prices, in part caused by OPEC and its partners agreeing to lower production since 2017.
Known as OPEC+, the group of oil producers which includes Russia are due to meet on Sunday in Algiers to look at how to allocate the additional one million bpd within its quote a framework.
OPEC sources told Reuters that there was no immediate plan for any official action as such a move would require OPEC to hold what it calls an extraordinary meeting, which is not on the table.
Oil prices slipped after Trumps remarks, with Brent crude shedding 40 cents to $79 a barrel in early afternoon trade in London while US light crude was unchanged at about $71.12.
Brent had been trading at around $80 on expectations that global supplies would come under pressure from the introduction of US sanctions on Iranian crude exports on Nov. 4.
Some countries has already started to halt imports from Tehran ahead of that deadline, leading analysts to speculate about how much spare capacity there is in the Middle East to compensate for the loss of Iranian exports as well as how much of that spare capacity can be easily brought online after years of under-investment in the industry.
Analysts expect oil to trend higher and through the $80 barrier as the deadline for US sanctions approaches.
“Brent is definitely fighting the $80 line, wanting to break above,” said SEB Markets chief commodities analyst Bjarne Schieldrop, Reuters reported. “But this is likely going to break very soon.”