$49 Billion Lost To Cyber Crime Across Russia In 2020, Sberbank Says

According to largest lender of Russia, Sberbank, up to 3.6 trillion roubles ($49 billion) has been lost by the Russian companies and citizens this year because of cyber attacks and hacking.

With the aim of attempting to crack down on the shadow economy,, Russian government and authorities have been encouraging its citizens to reduce use of cash for transactions and instead shift to using more of bank cards while limiting cash usage.

But according to the estimates of the country’s interior ministry, there has been an increase of 500 per cent in the number of crimes that were linked to bank cards this year.

The main targets of the cyber attacks were private businesses as well as ordinary Russian citizens, said Stanislav Kuznetsov, Sberbank’s deputy chairman, who oversees security and services, as quoted in news reports. Kuznetsov said that the security measures at state run organization against hacking and cyber attacks were more robust and hence such organizations were less of a target of hackers and cyber attacks.

“The private sector is the most vulnerable: everything from the clients’ accounts to financial data and tender documents are targeted: there are 2.3 million darknet accounts operating in Russian and offering the stolen data,” Kuznetsov said.

The state controlled Sberbank, which runs its own cybersecurity unit BI.ZONE that provides IT protection and cyber defence for the bank and for others as well, said that cyber criminals organizing the attacks generally speak Russian and tend to operate out of Germany, Ukraine and Venezuela, as well as Russia.

Kuznetsov said that in recent years, phone fraud is becoming more common in the country. In this type of fraud, a criminal calls up a client of a bank and poses and claims to an employee of the bank and then tries to win over the customer to hand over data of his or her card. Kuznetsov said that larger banks such as Sberbank have better protectopn against cuvery attacks and other forms of financial threats compared with other parts of the economy.

This year alone, as much as 10 billion roubles from phone fraud could be lost by Russians, Kuznetsov estimated. He however did not provide any data for 2019.

More than half a million unauthorised operations across bank accounts throughout the country was recorded last year by the Russian central bank. The combined loss of the unauthorised operations was 6.4 billion roubles which were stolen from private and corporate bank accounts.

(Adapted from Reuters.com)

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