The World Bank controls the World’s banking system, creates plans and strategies to develop economies to protect countries from financial turmoil. This information is a treasure trove of data which can be manipulated for huge monetary or political gain.

Amongst the financial crisis, a major security breach has been reported at World Bank that might tell us a story that protecting consumers’ data during these crisis might not be the first priority for many suffering financial institutions.

World Bank Under Siege in “Unprecedented Crisis

“It is still not known how much information was stolen. But sources inside the bank confirm that servers in the institution’s highly-restricted treasury unit were deeply penetrated with spy software last April. Invaders also had full access to the rest of the bank’s network for nearly a month in June and July.”
“In total, at least six major intrusions — two of them using the same group of IP addresses originating from China have been detected at the World Bank since the summer of 2007, with the most recent breach occurring just last month. ”

The World Bank’s technology and security expert states that the incident is an “unprecedented crisis.” Some security experts are saying that this might be the worst security breach to date at a global financial institution. The hackers controlled around 18 servers for more than a month and World Bank admits that sensitive data could have been stolen but they are not sure about the total impact of the breach.

Alan Calder wrote about “Data protection and financial chaos” and mentioned that “When financial markets appear to be in free fall, many organizations might think that data protection is the least of their worries. Who cares, they might wonder, about protecting personal data if tomorrow we might not exist anymore?”
I concur with Alan on this point, in the midst of this chaos, our personal data might be at great risk and we have to be vigilant and carry the load to protect our data. At the same time, this might become another reason for the financial institutions’ demise if they let their guards down now and do not make a priority to protect customers’ data.

During this turmoil, some financial institutions’ upper management doesn’t have to worry about their responsibility of securing the customers data adequately when they already know that eventually the taxpayers will be paying for their mistakes and their bonus plan will stay intact. Unprecedented crisis are sometimes the result of unprecedented greed.

Glassner “I don’t know that the captain of the Titanic got a bonus for driving the boat into iceberg. They at least had the decency to go down with the ship” [quoted in ‘Wachovia’s Golden Parachutes” story in S.F. Chronicle of 10/10/08 pg. C1].

Bill Gates “I’m quite worried about the fiscal imbalances that we’ve got and what that might mean in terms of financial crisis ahead.”

Chinese hackers: No site is safe


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