European Banking Authority (EBA) Microsoft Exchange Servers Hacked

Paris Looks to Charm London's Brexiles

The European Banking Authority (EBA) has confirmed it has fallen victim to the ongoing Microsoft Exchange attacks.

With a total of four highly valuable zero-day exploits, previously unreported vulnerabilities that give cybercriminals a head start in any attack campaign, the attacks against on-premises Microsoft Exchange servers were always going to be a big deal. Those initial attacks, which prompted Microsoft to publish an emergency out-of-band security update, were attributed to a nation state-sponsored group identified as HAFNIUM. The nation in question is China. However, Microsoft has now confirmed that it “continues to see increased use of these vulnerabilities in attacks targeting unpatched systems by multiple malicious actors beyond HAFNIUM.”

As I reported on March 6, credible sources were suggesting that the attacks against vulnerable Microsoft Exchange servers were thought to have compromised ‘hundreds of thousands’ of servers, more than 30,000 in the U.S. alone.

One of those attacked outside of the U.S. was the European Union’s banking regulator, the European Banking Authority. On March 7, the EBA issued a statement confirming that it had “been the subject of a cyber-attack against its Microsoft Exchange Servers.”

While stating that a full investigation was underway, the EBA went on to add: “As the vulnerability is related to the EBA’s email servers, access to personal data through emails held on that servers may have been obtained by the attacker. The EBA is working to identify what, if any, data was accessed. Where appropriate, the EBA will provide information on measures that data subjects might take to mitigate possible adverse effects. As a precautionary measure, the EBA has decided to take its email systems offline. Further information will be made available in due course.”

Further information was, indeed, made available by way of an update on March 8. “The EBA investigation is still ongoing and we are deploying additional security measures and close monitoring in view of restoring the full functionality of the email servers,” it read. “At this stage, the EBA email infrastructure has been secured and our analyses suggest that no data extraction has been performed and we have no indication to think that the breach has gone beyond our email servers.”

“The exploitation of the 0days in question required some specific conditions and thus raises questions what exactly happened at the EBA,” Ilia Kolochenko, chief architect at ImmuniWeb, said. “Another key question is when exactly the EBA was compromised?” Kolochenko points out that if the intrusion happened after the disclosure but prior to the emergency patch, the vulnerable systems should have been immediately disconnected to prevent exploitation in the wild. “The EBA is likely not the last victim of this hacking campaign,” he warns, “and more public authorities may disclosure incidents stemming from exploitation of the same vulnerabilities.”

I have approached the EBA for further comment.

Meanwhile, Mark Bower, a senior vice-president at comforte AG, said that “the capacity for attackers to extract sensitive data from emails, spreadsheets in mailboxes, insecure credentials in messages, as well as attached servers presents an advanced and persistent threat with multiple dimensions.”

Although it should be reiterated that, at this point in the investigation, the EBA is saying that “no data extraction has been performed and we have no indication to think that the breach has gone beyond our email servers.” Bower, like Kolochenko, warns that more incidents will be reported. “Affected entities and their supply chain partners will see a persistent secondary impact as a result over a long period of time,” he said.

I’ll leave the final word to John Hultquist, vice-president of analysis with Mandiant Threat Intelligence. “Though broad exploitation of the Microsoft Exchange vulnerabilities has already begun, many targeted organizations may have more to lose as this capability spreads to the hands of criminal actors who are willing to extort organizations and disrupt systems.

The cyber espionage operators who have had access to this exploit for some time, aren’t likely to be interested in the vast majority of the small and medium organizations. Though they appear to be exploiting organizations in masses, this effort could allow them to select targets of the greatest intelligence value.”

Update March 9

The EBA has now published a third update, which I reprint here in full:

“The European Banking Authority (EBA) has established that the scope of the event caused by the recently widely notified vulnerabilities was limited and that the confidentiality of the EBA systems and data has not been compromised.

Thanks to the precautionary measures taken, the EBA has managed to remove the existing threat and its email communication services have, therefore, been restored.

Since it became aware of the vulnerabilities, the EBA has taken a proactive approach and carried out a thorough assessment to appropriately and effectively detect any network intrusion that could compromise the confidentiality, integrity and availability of its systems and data.

The analysis was carried out by the EBA in close collaboration with the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-EU) for the EU institutions, agencies and bodies, the EBA’s ICT providers, a team of forensic experts and other relevant entities.”

I’m a three-decade veteran technology journalist and have been a contributing editor at PC Pro magazine since the first issue in 1994. A three-time winner of the BT Security Journalist of the Year award (2006, 2008, 2010) I was also fortunate enough to be named BT Technology Journalist of the Year in 1996 for a forward-looking feature in PC Pro called ‘Threats to the Internet.’ In 2011 I was honored with the Enigma Award for a lifetime contribution to IT security journalism. Contact me in confidence at davey@happygeek.com if you have a story to reveal or research to share.

Source: European Banking Authority (EBA) Microsoft Exchange Servers Hacked

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Here’s What Banks Can Learn From Innovative Providers Reaping ROI From Personal Finance Management Tools

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Personal finance management (PFM) tools can allow banks to create highly personalized customer experiences and, in turn, drive revenue and retention.

The diversity of today’s PFM market illustrates the value that a wide range of providers see in developing such offerings, but its promise — PFM was lauded as the future of banking for over a decade — has long failed to materialize for most incumbent banks as well as consumers. PFM user share plateaued at between 10% and 12% as of 2017, the most recently available data, per Celent.

This plateau is the result of several design flaws that made earlier iterations of PFM tools unengaging. These include only showing users their financial data without providing actionable insights, personalized financial advice, or tools to manage their finances more easily; poor user experience (UX) due to many banks’ PFM functionalities being confined to separate tabs to better track engagement metrics; and limited data sharing before open banking regulations (in some jurisdictions), making personalization difficult to achieve due to incomplete financial data for each user.

Today’s most sophisticated PFM features, however, can give users maximal control of their finances while requiring little effort on users’ end through advances in AI, smart analytics, automation, and regulations like open banking. A new breed of PFM providers is drawing on these developments to roll out features that are more insightful, accurate, and predictive than before, making them a powerful tool for getting consumers to engage with their finances in a meaningful way. Customers are responding to this upgraded version of PFM, and banks need to pay attention or they’ll risk eroding customer engagement and loyalty. As customers engage with their finances more meaningfully, banks can translate this increased engagement into more revenue.

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financecurrent3

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The digital yuan can replace cash if it meets four conditions: greater efficiency, lower transaction costs, enough economic scale with commercial value, and people’s acceptance.

Former President of the Bank of China Li Lihui has said that the launch of the digital yuan is close and imminent. According to Li, the currency, which is currently at testing phase, could replace fiat currency in China if it meets four conditions.

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China is set to introduce its own digital currency. Experts are predicting that the digital currency will be used to allow the government and central bank to watch over what people spend their money on. With the aim to replace cash, China’s digital currency is likely to be more akin to electronic money stored on a physical medium. Central bank governor Yi Gang said the currency may be associated with existing electronic payment systems like the WeChat and AliPay apps. Subscribe to our channel here: https://cna.asia/youtubesub Subscribe to our news service on Telegram: https://cna.asia/telegram Follow us: CNA: https://cna.asia CNA Lifestyle: http://www.cnalifestyle.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/channelnewsasia Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/channelnews… Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/channelnewsasia

Bank Of England Warns Of Worst Economic Slump Since 1706

The Bank of England has warned that the U.K. economy could fall into its worst recession on record and could contract as much as 25% in the second quarter as the pandemic and lockdown measures have impacted businesses and workers.

In its latest monetary policy report, the U.K.’s central bank set out a range of scenarios for the economy, based on lockdown measures being gradually eased between June and September.

It suggested that while the economy contracts 2.9% in the first quarter, it could fall 25% in the second quarter, and shrink 14% this year.

That would make it the sharpest fall since 1706, according to Bank of England data.

Unemployment could also rise to 9%—beyond the 8% seen in the previous financial crisis—despite the British government’s job retention scheme covering 80% of wages, the bank said.

Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey is hopeful of a rapid recovery with a forecast that GDP will rebound by 15% in 2021, and that “there is only limited scarring to the economy” thanks to government lifelines.

In early March, the British central bank made an emergency rate cut to 0.25%, before slashing it further to a record low of 0.1% days later, to soften the impact of the coronavirus on the British economy.

The BoE held off expanding its economic stimulus programme but two of the nine member monetary policy committee voted for additional bond buying.

Big number

Consumer spending is expected to plummet by 30% in the three months to June, compared to the last three months of 2019, the bank said.

Crucial comment

Adrian Lowcock of investment platform Willis Owen, said: “The Bank’s latest forecasts are the stuff of nightmares, with the UK tipped to see its economy shrink by 14% this year – a far worse decline than the one seen during the global financial crisis – while unemployment will leap to 9 million.

“The only good news today is that the Bank expects this economic bombshell to be short-lived, and for the economy to bounce back rapidly. However, the MPC itself concedes it is flying blind to a large extent, warning that a pandemic like this is “especially difficult to quantify.”

Key background

The Bank of England has introduced a raft of measures to cushion the British economy against the economic shock of an almost total shutdown of swathes of businesses. In addition to the interest rate cuts, the bank has injected a total of £645 billion ($752 billion) into the economy, mostly used to buy up government bonds. On Thursday, the bank’s governor, Andrew Bailey, said it was ready to provide additional support if needed, but the bank stopped short of agreeing on a further £100 billion ($123 billion) in quantitative easing, despite two members of its Monetary Policy Committee voting for it.

Further reading

Monetary Policy Report press conference (Bank of England)

Monetary Policy Report (Bank of England)

Full coverage and live updates on the Coronavirus

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I am a breaking news reporter for Forbes in London, covering Europe and the U.S. Previously I was a news reporter for HuffPost UK, the Press Association and a night reporter at the Guardian. I studied Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics, where I was a writer and editor for one of the university’s global affairs magazines, the London Globalist. That led me to Goldsmiths, University of London, where I completed my M.A. in Journalism. Got a story? Get in touch at isabel.togoh@forbes.com, or follow me on Twitter @bissieness. I look forward to hearing from you.

Source: Bank Of England Warns Of Worst Economic Slump Since 1706

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Your Bank Could Be Holding Your Business Back From Growth. Here’s When You Should Consider Breaking Up

The bankers you work with may seem like great men and women, and they probably are truly nice people. They greet you by name, ask about your spouse and kids and appear to take a real interest in how well your enterprise is doing. Their financial products may be meeting your needs to a T.

But how strongly do you feel about your relationship with your bank? How do you think they’ll cooperate with you when the stuff hits the fan — which it most certainly will at some point? That’s the real test.

True colors

Here’s a true-life example: I’ve been working with an entrepreneur who finds himself in a down cycle. The company’s business plan is sound, the management team is experienced, and the product remains viable, so the problem isn’t terminal. But it may be awhile before the company’s prospects brighten.

The company works with a popular bank, which is starting to get nervous about its loans and is considering adding demanding conditions or even calling the loans.

The entrepreneur, however, feels a sense of loyalty to the bank, which has worked with him for several years. I have counseled him to consider other options. The reality is that bankers seven states away that he’s never met, not his local team — are the ones making the decisions.

He’s holding fast– and that’s a big mistake.

The entrepreneur has the opportunity to move to a smaller, regional bank. That bank’s rates may be slightly higher, but they’re more interested in a relationship.

And there’s certainly value in being in the room with the actual decision-makers — for both sides. Yes, your financials are going to be the primary determinant in lending decisions, but the human element can sway an on-the-fence lender to your team. Meantime, you’ll be able to tell a lot about the banker by meeting in person. Sometimes, it’s okay to trust your gut.

Loyalty only takes you so far

I get why entrepreneurs are loyal to bankers that have brought them success, but passing up the opportunity for a better financial situation is a kin to resting on your laurels.

As an entrepreneur, your best chances for success are by finding every possible edge you can. Incremental gains add up nicely over time, you should be taking advantage of them.

As for your spurned banker — they will get over it. Yes, that’s cynical, but that’s the way the business world works, especially with the larger banks. Remember also that your financial needs are a living, changing thing. What worked for you at one point may not be the most appropriate thing for you now.

The most successful entrepreneurs and companies are never satisfied with the status quo. Neither should you.

By: Ami Kassar CEO, MultiFunding.com

Source: Your Bank Could Be Holding Your Business Back From Growth. Here’s When You Should Consider Breaking Up

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Are you struggling in your business? Does each month feel like it’s a mad dash to figure out who’s going to get paid? I want to teach you what I do to turn around businesses to make them profitable again. Are you an entrepreneur? Get free weekly video training here: http://www.danmartell.com/newsletter + Join me on FB: http://FB.com/DanMartell + Connect w/ me live: http://periscope.tv/danmartell + Tweet me: http://twitter.com/danmartell + Instagram awesomeness: http://instagram.com/danmartell I’m the guy that gets the call when a business is in trouble… … when a business is on the verge of bankruptcy. Friends call me. Banks call me. If I’m lucky, the entrepreneur calls me before it’s too late. The truth is, it’s always challenging for me to see another entrepreneur failing… … especially when they have major debt owed, personal guarantees and their biggest dreams hanging in the air as collateral. It’s even more heartbreaking when kids are involved. It crushes me inside. That being said, the game plan to turn things around is ALWAYS the same. The #1 thing it takes is uncomfortable discussions, honest assessments and quick decisions. Hard? You have no idea. However, staring at the light waiting for the train to hit you isn’t the right move either. Recently I was able to take a company losing tens of thousands each month, to profitable in 14 days. In this week’s video I provide a step by step process for getting you off the tracks, and pulling a sharp 180 regardless of the challenges you’re facing. When it comes to the steps and process they go like this: 1) Get clarity on the numbers (scary as hell, but necessary) 2) Test the business model 3) Cut deep but not the bone 4) Focus on the customers 5) Write the rules 6) Build it back up The truth is, this strategy is something most companies should use to evaluate their real success. Too many times I’ve had founders tell me their business is doing “GREAT” only to ask a few questions and have them realize they’re way below the market norm. Stop being romantic about your business and get serious about how you’re measuring your progress. Leave a comment below with your business, industry and top question you have about your business model or challenges and I’ll be sure to provide some insights to help you evaluate your progress! Dan “saving businesses daily” Martell Don’t forget to share this entrepreneurial advice with your friends, so they can learn too: https://youtu.be/JyfE6jzcOGI ===================== ABOUT DAN MARTELL ===================== “You can only keep what you give away.” That’s the mantra that’s shaped Dan Martell from a struggling 20-something business owner in the Canadian Maritimes (which is waaay out east) to a successful startup founder who’s raised more than $3 million in venture funding and exited not one… not two… but three tech businesses: Clarity.fm, Spheric and Flowtown. You can only keep what you give away. That philosophy has led Dan to invest in 33+ early stage startups such as Udemy, Intercom, Unbounce and Foodspotting. It’s also helped him shape the future of Hootsuite as an advisor to the social media tour de force. An activator, a tech geek, an adrenaline junkie and, yes, a romantic (ask his wife Renee), Dan has recently turned his attention to teaching startups a fundamental, little-discussed lesson that directly impacts their growth: how to scale. You’ll find not only incredible insights in every moment of every talk Dan gives – but also highly actionable takeaways that will propel your business forward. Because Dan gives freely of all that he knows. After all, you can only keep what you give away. Get free training videos, invites to private events, and cutting edge business strategies: http://www.danmartell.com/newsletter

Major Central Bank Institution BIS: Bitcoin Must Depart From Proof-of-Work

Bitcoin’s (BTC) problems are only solvable by departing from a proof-of-work (PoW) system, according to research published by the Bank for International Settlement (BIS) on Jan. 21. According to the paper, when in the future Bitcoin’s block rewards fall to zero — given that only a limited number of new Bitcoin will ever be created — transaction fees alone will not be able to sustain mining expenses. The argument implies that the Bitcoin network would become so slow that it would be virtually unusable, stating…….

Source: Major Central Bank Institution BIS: Bitcoin Must Depart From Proof-of-Work

Reserves Bank of India shelves central bank digital currency plans – Report – TokenPost

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has reportedly shelved its plans to launch its own digital currency, according to The Hindu Business Line.The RBI had revealed its plans about central bank digital currency (RBI) in…

Source: Reserves Bank of India shelves central bank digital currency plans – Report – TokenPost

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