Mexico central bank to create cyber security unit after hack

Mexico's central Bank Governor Alejandro Diaz de Leon Carrillo speaks during an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the Mexican Banking Association's annual convention in Acapulco, Mexico March 9, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Thomson Reuters

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's central bank said on Tuesday that it was creating a cyber security unit, following a hack on a domestic payments system at the end of April that affected Mexican banks.

The central bank said in a notice in the government's daily gazette that the new unit would design and issue guidelines on information security for the country's banks, which are supervised by the central bank.

Central bank Governor Alejandro Diaz de Leon said on Monday that the country had seen an unprecedented attack on payment system connections and that he hoped that measures being taken would stop future incidents.

The attack on Mexican banks is similar to one of the biggest-ever known cyber heists, when thieves stole $81 million from Bangladesh's central bank in 2016, said Fermin Gonzalez, head of forensic services at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Mexico.

"Perhaps, some financial institutions perceived the attacks in Bangladesh as something very distant," he said, adding that some Mexican banks may not have invested in sufficient security measures.

"But criminals look for vulnerability and once they see it they are going to exploit it."

The central bank has not identified which banks were hit by the cyber attack or detailed how much thieves were able to wire out to bogus accounts in other banks.

A source close to the government's investigation said more than 300 million had been siphoned out of banks, but it was not clear how much had subsequently been taken out in cash withdrawals.

Bank Grupo Financiero Banorte said on Tuesday it does not expect the attack to hit financial results.


(Reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher and Michael O'Boyle, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

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