Russia's five largest banks have been hit by a massive cyber attack, including the country’s largest lender Sberbank.
Though state-controlled Sberbank was hacked into on Tuesday, it somehow managed to neutralize the attack automatically without its operations being disturbed, various local media reported Thursday.
The distribution of denial attacks (DDoS) started Tuesday at 1300 GMT and targeted "the websites of at least five well-known financial institutions in the top 10" in Russia. DDoS attacks include flooding websites with more traffic than they can handle, making them difficult to access or taking them offline entirely, internet security giant Kaspersky said in a statement Thursday
"The attacks were still going on Thursday. Most of them lasted for about one hour but the longest one prolonged for 12 hours," Kaspersky said.
The attacks saw as many as 660,000 requests being sent per second using a network of more than 24,000 hijacked devices located in 30 countries. More than half the devices were in the United States, India, Taiwan and Israel, Kaspersky said.
Russia's central bank confirmed to a news agency that it had identified "attacks on a number of large banks." However, the intensity of attack was "medium" and did not disrupt access to banking services.
The attacks used botnets made up of the "Internet of things". Those are electronic devices such as CCTV cameras or digital video recorders plugged in to offices and homes worldwide.
“We registered a first attack early in the morning, the next attack in the evening involved several waves, each of them was twice as powerful as the previous one. Bank’s cybersecurity noticed and located the attack in time. There have been no problems in client online services,” Sberbank representative said.
The bank has suffered 68 such attacks this year and that the latest was among the biggest, a senior executive at Sberbank, Stanislav Kuznetsov said. The initial attack was rather massive and its power intensified over the course of the day.