Dec 222009

Siobhan Gorman and Evan Perez of the Wall Street Journal report:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing a computer-security breach targeting Citigroup Inc. that resulted in a theft of tens of millions of dollars by computer hackers who appear linked to a Russian cyber gang, according to government officials…… The Citibank attack was detected over the summer, but investigators are looking into the possibility the attack may have occurred months or even a year earlier. The FBI and the National Security Agency, along with the Department of Homeland Security and Citigroup, swapped information to counter the attack, according to a person familiar with the case.

But not so fast. Citigroup is denying any breach:

Joe Petro, managing director of Citigroup’s Security and Investigative services, said, “We had no breach of the system and there were no losses, no customer losses, no bank losses.” He added later: “Any allegation that the FBI is working a case at Citigroup involving tens of millions of losses is just not true.”

Their denial did not seem to convince WSJ, and the rest of the article provides background and some details on the alleged Citibank hack and the use of Black Energy software to steal banking data.

So… was there a breach or wasn’t there? And should those organizations that compile databases include a breach if the entity firmly denies being breached and we don’t have named sources? Right now, I’m glad that I don’t compile breaches as I’m not sure what I’d do with this one. Maybe an entry with an asterisk? Even then, associating the name with a possible breach can do reputational harm. I’ll be interested to see what OSF, ITRC, and the PRC do with this one.

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