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article imageCyber thieves claim they have hit two large Canadian banks

By Karen Graham     May 29, 2018 in Technology
Montreal - Bank of Montreal and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce said on Monday that cyber attackers may have stolen the data of nearly 90,000 customers in what appeared to be the first significant assault on financial institutions in the country.
Canada's fourth-biggest lender, the Bank of Montreal, said on Monday they had been contacted by "fraudsters" on Sunday who claimed they had in their possession personal and financial information on some of the bank's customers, according to US News.
A spokesman for the Bank of Montreal said they believe less than 50,000 of the bank's 8 million customer accounts across Canada were hacked. The caller threatened to make the customer information public, the bank spokesman said, adding the bank was working with authorities and conducting a thorough investigation.
Bank of Montreal believes the attack originated outside the country and is now confident the exposure that led to the theft of customer data has been cut off.
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Canada’s fifth-biggest lender, says it was also contacted by fraudsters on Sunday, claiming they had electronically stolen personal and account information of 40,000 customers of its Simplii direct banking brand. CIBC says it has not confirmed the breach but is taking the threat very seriously.
Both banks say they are taking this breach very seriously at this time, reports Gizmodo. And while the number of accounts the cyber crooks claim they have compromised may seem small in comparison to say, the mega-breach that hit Equifax last year, it is still unknown what the full extent of the breach could be.
Last year, Equifax said information on about 146.6 million names, 146.6 million dates of birth, 145.5 million U.S. social security numbers, 99 million addresses and 209,000 payment card numbers and expiration dates, were stolen in a cyber attack, according to Reuters.
Six of Canada's largest banks have been collaborating with the Bank of Canada on enhancing their defenses against cyber attacks. Earlier this month, the Bank of Canada said some cyber attacks will succeed, and there are protective mechanisms in place to limit the damage from these attacks.
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