By Alister Bull and Jim Finkle and Rick Rothacker
Feb 7 The Federal Reserve said on Thursday it
was still working to determine the extent that its computer
systems had been breached by hackers, adding that the incident
was the subject of a criminal investigation by the Federal
Bureau of Investigation.
"We are in the process of a comprehensive assessment to
determine what information might have been obtained in this
incident," said Federal Reserve spokesman Jim Strader. "We
remain confident that this incident did not affect critical
operations of the Federal Reserve," he said.
The online intrusion, which has embarrassed the U.S. central
bank and raised questions about the effectiveness of its
security, was publicized on Sunday by activist group Anonymous.
The integrity of the Fed's systems is vital to ensure
confidence in its ability to securely transmit highly
confidential information, including communications about U.S.
monetary policy and the banks that it supervises.
Anonymous claimed that it had published personal information
from more than 4,000 U.S. bank executives gleaned from a
password-protected Fed website.
The website, called the Emergency Communication System
(ECS), exists to provide bank contact information in the event
of a natural or other disaster. It is managed by the St. Louis
Federal Reserve Bank.
A message sent by the Fed to ECS users and obtained by
Reuters on Tuesday warned that personal information, including
mobile and business telephone numbers, email and business
addresses, had been obtained by the online intruders.
Strader said it was possible that more information might
still be released by the hackers, but declined to spell out if
data from a site other than the ECS had been obtained.
"This incident is the subject of an active criminal
investigation with the FBI and we cannot comment further," he
The Fed also declined to comment on when the attack took
place, how long it took for the breach to be discovered, and
what type of system or vulnerability was exploited.