Hackers Breach Accounts of European Central Bank (ECB) and Top Eurozone Officials
Italian police arrested two siblings on Tuesday for hacking the e-mail account of European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi. The hackers also managed to get into the private and official accounts of former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and thousands of others in the eurozone and beyond. (Source: “Italy arrests two for hacking into emails of ECB’s Draghi, former Italy PM Renzi,” The Crusader Journal, January 10, 2017.)
A court in Rome ordered the arrest of Giulio Occhionero and his sister Francesca Maria Occhionero. They are charged with stealing state secrets and illegally hacking the ECB president’s account in order to gain precious information about the euro and monetary policy in the eurozone. But it’s unclear what the extent of the damage might be.
The hacking operation affected tens of thousands of email accounts. These included accounts belonging to bankers, business owners, and even several cardinals in the Vatican, according to Roberto Di Legami, the head of the Italian cybercrime police unit, which led the investigation. (Source: Ibid.)
Giulio Occhionero, a nuclear engineer and co-founder of investment firm Westland Securities, used malware to infect e-mail accounts. He did it to make “reverse-based investments” said lead investigator Di Legami. The malware had the mysterious name: “Eye Pyramid.” The data thieves have ties to a masonic lodge and the symbol might refer to the “eye in the pyramid” featured on every dollar bill.
Draghi’s account at the Bank of Italy, where he was governor, and Renzi’s personal Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) account, which he used when he was prime minister, were among the malware-infected accounts.
This is not the first time the ECB—or in this case, its current boss—was hacked. In 2014, the European Central Bank admitted that its web site had been hacked. Those responsible demanded a money ransom for the data. (Source: “Hackers demand money from European Central Bank after stealing data,” The Telegraph, July 24, 2014.)
It sounds like the ECB fell victim to the rather common ransomware attack, which can affect anyone. But, it was more sophisticated than that. The hackers stole e-mail addresses and other contact information. The ECB received an anonymous e-mail demanding money in exchange for the stolen addresses. (Source: Ibid.)