If you thought hackers only stole information, Wednesday’s incident with Bank of Valletta proves otherwise. On Wednesday morning, Bank of Valletta, Malta’s largest bank, mysteriously shut down all services and remained closed for the entire day. Consequently, this move locked customers out of branches, ATMs, mobile banking, and even the bank’s website. For some perspective, this bank handles half of all bank transactions for the nearly 500,000 residents of Malta.

International Oddities

After opening, the bank noticed some oddities with 11 international transfers. Within 30 minutes, the bank stopped all international payments to the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and the Czech Republic. Not long after, the Security Service received information that the bank had been the victim of a cyber-attack overseas.  At this point, shutting down offered the best means of protection.

$14.6 Million Stolen

Even with the quick reaction time, hackers had already transferred just over $14.6 million. According to Malta’s Prime Minister, Dr. Muscat, “That money did not come from the people’s money and the amounts have been traced and are being reversed.” The bank reopened on Thursday and reassured customers that their accounts were unaffected.

Economic Fallout

While $14.6 million is a lot of money, the economic impact reaches much further. With bank services shut down, customer credit and debit cards stopped functioning. Shop owners using the bank’s credit card processing couldn’t charge any credit cards. At first, they believed something was wrong with their own system. News of Bank of Valletta’s shutdown had not reached the public yet. Additionally, 12,000 people didn’t receive their social security payments.

How It Affects You

Most likely, no one reading this has an account with Bank of Valletta. However, banks within the U.S. have their own vulnerabilities. Last year, we discussed a report that found vulnerabilities in every single banking app it tested. Even with that, hackers rarely succeed in attacking banks. When they do, it makes the news.

Instead, hackers prefer small businesses. Typically, much less security stands in their way, and the risk of being caught goes down immensely. On the other side, the risk to small businesses goes up. In 2018, cyber-attacks cost small businesses an average of $120,000 per incident. In some cases, the expense is much higher and can be a death blow to a business.

We Can Help

We can help your small business improve prevention methods and implement a recovery plan. Often, we detect cyber-attacks before our clients notice the effects. In moments, our technicians can isolate devices and begin diagnosis and repair. If you don’t know how your business would react to a situation like this, contact us for a free consultation.

Get a FREE IT Consultation!

Start Now