Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

Canadian Imperial Bank investigating fraudsters claiming to be in possession of data

THE CANADIAN PRESS  HO Simplii Financial logo is seen in this undated handout THE CANADIAN PRESS HO Simplii Financial logo is seen in this undated handout
Lindsey Cook | 30 May, 2018, 18:57

The bank advises its customers to monitor their accounts for signs of suspicious activity, and also to ensure that they do not use simple passwords. "We have notified and are working with relevant authorities as we continue to assess the situation", BMO said in a statement.

More than 90,000 people have had their bank details accessed by hackers, who are asking for $1 million in ransom.

Simplii is a low-priced online bank owned by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, and was launched a year ago after CIBC - which is Canada's fifth-largest bank - split from a two-decade partnership with Loblaw Cos.

The OPC has not opened a formal investigation.

"We are proactively contacting those customers that may have been impacted and we will support and stand by them", the bank wrote. Royal Bank, Scotiabank and Toronto-Dominion Bank have said they have no indication they have been affected. For Simplii's part, the bank said "we are continuing to work with cybersecurity experts, law enforcement and others to protect our Simplii clients' data and interests".

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner said Monday that both financial institutions have notified it about the issue. In January, Bell Canada warned some of its customers that their information, such as names and email addresses, had been illegally accessed in a data breach.

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"This is important financial information, and a lot of damage can occur..."

It's not clear whether money was stolen from customers' accounts, but both banks are saying any stolen money will be reimbursed.

BMO says it took immediate steps after learning of the potential breach and is confident that exposures related to customer data have been "closed off".

BMO is warning that "fraudsters" from outside of the country may have accessed certain the personal and financial information of some of its customers.

James Lerud, head of the Verodin Behavioral Research Team, said the incident appears to be an extortion attempt by the hackers, where they threaten to publish stolen data unless they receive a ransom. Previously, companies which had been hacked had been alerting the public on their own timeline.

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