How Russian Hackers Spiked the Currency Exchange Rate


February 8, 2016

Russian hackers found a way to dramatically alter a currency exchange rate—in just 14 minutes.

Launching a virus known as Corkow Trojan against Russia-based Energobank, a group of Russian hackers altered the value of the ruble against the dollar, Bloomberg is reporting, citing an interview with Group-IB, the company that investigated the attack. The virus, which hit Energobank in Feb. 2015, allowed the hackers to buy more than $500 million “at non-market rates,” according to the report. The move was enough for the ruble’s exchange rate to jump from 55 to 66 rubles per dollar before it settled back down.

Oddly, the hackers are not believed to have profited from the attack, ostensibly because they did not sell any of the currency as rates fluctuated. But Group-IB told Bloomberg that it may have been a proof-of-concept to prepare for another hack.

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