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Citi denies it lost millions to hackers

Though Citigroup denies it was attacked, security expert Tom Kellermann says 98 percent of bank heists now occur virtually. Though Citigroup denies it was attacked, security expert Tom Kellermann says 98 percent of bank heists now occur virtually. (Emmanuel Dunand/ AFP/Getty Images/ File 2008)
Associated Press / December 23, 2009

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WASHINGTON - The FBI is investigating a hacker attack on Citigroup that led to the theft of tens of millions of dollars, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The bank strenuously denied the report.

Citing anonymous officials, the Journal said the hackers were connected to a Russian gang and two other computer systems, at least one of connected to a US government agency, were also attacked.

Citi said “any allegation that the FBI is working on a case at Citigroup involving a breach of Citi systems resulting in tens of millions of dollars of losses is false.’’

The Journal said it stands by its story.

The newspaper reported the attack, on Citigroup’s Citibank subsidiary, was detected over the summer but may have occurred up to one year earlier. The FBI, National Security Agency, Homeland Security, and Citigroup worked together to investigate the attack, the report said.

Internet attacks on banks are common, said Tom Kellermann, a former senior member of the World Bank’s Treasury security team and now vice president of security awareness for Core Security Technologies.He said large financial institutions are “consistently targeted’’ and are “hemorrhaging funds.’’