The International Monetary Fund has been targeted by computer hackers over the past several months, resulting in a significant breach, the New York Times reported Saturday.
“This was a very major breach,” an IMF official told the Times.
The board of directors was informed of the cyberattack on Wednesday, but the bank did not make a public announcement.
IMF computer files contain confidential data about a country’s financial condition, including information about negotiations over financial bailouts for countries such as Portugal and Greece. Such information is highly sensitive.
IMF spokesman David Hawley told the Times that “We are investigating an incident, and the fund is fully functional.” However, he declined to discuss the scope or nature of the attack.
As a safeguard, the World Bank cut the link it uses to share information with the IMF.
The goal of the attack appeared to be to plant software that would give the attacker a “digital insider presence.”
In the last three months, major national and international corporations have been hit by cyberattacks, including defense contractor Lockheed Martin, Google, Citigroup Inc., and Sony.
In congressional confirmation hearings last week, CIA Director Leon Panetta said “the next Pearl Harbor” could be a cyberattack that cripples the nation’s infrastructure.