Hackers siphon millions of Mexican pesos out of banks

A still unknown amount of Mexican pesos has been funneled from at least five banking institutions, according to the Bank of Mexico

Hackers siphon millions of Mexican pesos out of banks
Aspect of the Bank of Mexico - Photo: Ivan Stephens/EL UNIVERSAL
English 15/05/2018 11:37 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City Reuters Actualizada 11:39
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A still unknown amount of Mexican pesos has been funneled from at least five banking institutions in Mexico through “unauthorized transfers” in the last couple of days, according to Lorenza Martínez, according to Lorenza Martínez, head of the Payment and Services Department of the Bank of Mexico. 

While Ms. Martínez refrained from classifying the crime as a “cyber attack,” she did clarify the target of the hackers was the system used by the banks to connect to the Interbanking Electronic Payment System (SPEI), not SPEI itself.

“At this time we cannot discard any hypothesis. It was something done on purpose but we're still investigating how it was done,” told Martínez to Reuters.

Since late April, slow interbank transfers were reported by at least one banking institution and Mexico's central bank informed they were investigating the matter.

For his part, Marcos Martínez, President of Mexico's Banks Association, recently stated that no clients have been or will be affected “in the future” by the attacks against the banking institutions.

He explained the thieves opened fake accounts to which they transferred the funds and authorities are currently working to find out whether the perpetrators worked from within the banking institutions or from the outside.

Mr. Martínez reassured the SPEI system hasn't thus far been breached. He detailed that its banking institutions themselves which develop their own systems to connect to SPEI and that some of them purchased a software available on the market and that the “vulnerability" was there.

Furthermore, he expects no further trouble with the payrolls this week, although he did caution about slow transactions, given that some banks are using an alternate system to SPEI for the transfers, which is safer but slower.

Regarding the delays experienced by some clients of Citibanamex, Marcos Martínez classified it as an “unfortunate coincidence,” claiming it is unrelated to the attacks.


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