The Federal Reserve is the latest victim of a cyberattack. The U.S. central bank said Tuesday its internal websites had been infiltrated by hackers, but the breach was short-lived and did not have any critical impact.
"The Federal Reserve system is aware that information was obtained by exploiting a temporary vulnerability in a website vendor product," a Fed spokeswoman told Reuters. "Exposure was fixed shortly after discovery and is no longer an issue. This incident did not affect critical operations of the Federal Reserve system."
This news follows reports on Sunday that Anonymous, an Internet-based activist group, penetrated the Fed's security system and published stolen information on 4,000 U.S bank executives.
Some inside the cyber community believe the attacks against the Fed were retaliation for the death of Internet prodigy and programmer Aaron Swartz. The 26-year-old digital rights activist and hacker was indicted on 13 felony charges for hacking into the MIT computer system and downloading millions of scientific and scholarly documents. He was set to stand trial in April but committed suicide in mid-January. Swartz was also the co-founder of Demand Progress and helped create RSS.
As The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task and Henry Blodget discuss in the accompanying video, the attack on the Fed is "very serious."
"This is just going to bring more attention to the fact that the country as a whole has to get more serious about guarding things like this," Henry says.
The Fed is not the only institution to fall prey to cyberattacks in recent days:
- The Department of Energy acknowledged a breach of its systems Monday. China has been blamed for this attack.
- Last week a handful of major U.S. media organizations — including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and Bloomberg News — announced that Chinese hackers had gained entry into their computer systems and exposed employee information.
- Twitter also revealed last Friday that its systems had been breached and information on 250,000 of its users may have been exposed to hackers, but the origin of this attack is still unknown.
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