Foreign intel agencies to launch massive cyberattacks on Russian financial system – FSB

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has information that foreign intelligence agencies are preparing to launch cyberattacks aimed at destabilizing Russia's financial system, starting as early as next week.

The attacks will also target the activities of Russia’s largest banks.

The cyberattacks, which will start from December 5, will be accompanied by a massive spam text message campaign and inflammatory social network and blog posts – all related to an alleged crisis in the credit and financial system and the bankruptcy and revocation of licenses from major federal and regional banks, a statement published on the FSB website added.

Dozens of Russian cities will be targeted in the cyber assault, it added.

It has been established that the servers and command centers to be used for the attacks are located in the Netherlands, and belong to Ukrainian hosting company BlazingFast, the FSB reported.

The FSB said it is taking measures to neutralize the threats.

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The Finance Ministry views the situation as stable, according to Deputy Minister Aleksey Moiseyev, as cited by TASS.

“We hope that the banks’ cyber security systems will be able to repel [the attacks], we think that banks are generally very well prepared. However, if necessary, the Central Bank and the Treasury will provide additional liquidity,” the deputy minister said.

The Russian Ministry of Communications has held emergency meetings with communications service providers and key banks, giving them guidelines on how to deal with the cyberattacks, the ministry’s press service told RIA Novosti.

“We confirm the cooperation with the FSB on confronting cyberattacks in the financial sector. We have held two meetings with communications service providers and major banks, we have sent out telegrams with the instructions on what to do in case of attacks and the way those organizations will have to address the ministry and the Federal Security Service,” the ministry said.

Chief Deputy of the Security Control and Data Protection department at Russia’s Central Bank, Artyom Sychev, says their security experts are aware of the threat and are ready to respond if need be.

“Russia’s Communications and Mass Communications Ministry has had a meeting and worked out certain countermeasures that should be taken to resist this kind of attacks,” Sychev told RT.

There were similar incidents in 2014, but the joint efforts of Russia’s banking institutions helped to quickly resolve the situation, Sychev said.