Hackers claim to have crippled Russia’s banking system

Pro-Ukrainian hacktivists allegedly took down Infotel, a Russian internet service provider (ISP) crucial for operating a platform that Russian banks use to facilitate the financial system.

Cyber Anarchy Squad, a pro-Kyiv hacker collective, took credit for taking down Infotel, a Moscow-based ISP. The service provider has been down since June 8th, and its site was still inaccessible at the time of writing this article.

“Their entire infrastructure is destroyed, there is nothing left alive there. Now let them try to rebuild everything — they have as much chance as Russia is to have an easy life,” attackers said on their Telegram channel.

While taking down a single ISP is not a tectonic event, the attack’s side effects have the potential to have severe ramifications for Russia’s banking system: Infotel runs the Automated System of Electronic Interaction (ASEI) for the Central Bank of Russia.

Commercial banks, credit unions, and other businesses use ASEI for secure communications between different organizations. The system enables secure document exchange, data transfer, digital signature, and other crucial activities to facilitate the banking system.

In theory, without ASEI, the ability for institutions to exchange financial information on loans and transactions is severely limited. While backup systems could assist during downtime, delays would be unavoidable.

Since banks rely on AESI to process transactions, a sudden shutdown would halt interbank comms, preventing some of the transactions from taking place.

Hacktivists claim that they stole Infotel’s data before crippling the ISP, which revealed that AESI serves 400 customers in Russia, with 25% of the total represented by commercial banks and the rest by credit institutions, car dealerships, connection providers, and other entities.

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