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Hackers claim world’s largest bank paid ransom over cyberattack

A ransomware gang has claimed it received payment from a Chinese banking giant

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) paid a ransom after it suffered a cyberattack against some of its US-based systems last week, LockBit, the hacking group behind the attack, claimed on Monday, according to media reports.   

The breach on the largest global lender by total assets, which was disclosed on November 9, disrupted some US Treasury market trades from clearing, forcing brokers and traders to reroute transactions.  

According to Reuters, a LockBit representative confirmed the payment on Monday but declined to provide further details.  

“They paid a ransom, deal closed,” the representative told the outlet via an online messaging app Tox.  

The extent of the ICBC cyberattack was so severe that even corporate email systems stopped functioning, prompting employees to use Google mail, according to the outlet.  

“The market is mostly back to normal now,” said Zhiwei Ren, a portfolio manager at Penn Mutual Asset Management.  

Ransomware is a type of cyberattack when hackers take control of systems or information in order to demand a ransom. This type of attack has seen a surge in popularity among hackers in recent years.  

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The Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a financial industry cybersecurity group, urged companies to “stay current on all protective measures and patch critical vulnerabilities immediately.”   

“Ransomware remains one of the top threat vectors facing the financial sector,” the group’s spokesperson warned.   

In recent months, LockBit has attacked some of the world’s largest organizations and has been particularly disruptive in the US. The cybercriminal group has been stealing information and leaking sensitive data in cases where victims refused to pay.  

The ransomware gang has hit more than 1,700 organizations in the US in numerous sectors ranging from financial services and food to schools, transportation and government departments, according to Reuters.

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