How $80B moving through NY Fed daily could be vulnerable to hackers

Steve Liesman 6 Hours AgoCNBC.comSHARES

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in its first extensive remarks on cybersecurity following the theft of $81 million from accounts it held for the central bank of Bangladesh, said the incident is a “wake-up call” for the global financial system and the Fed is taking the issue “very seriously.”

However, a senior New York Federal Reserve official said in an interview with CNBC that the central bank has no authority to inspect or oversee the cybersecurity precautions at foreign central banks that keep their assets at the New York Fed. That means there can be varying cybersecurity risk levels around the world for transactions between global central banks and the New York Fed.

The New York Fed stands at the center of the globalized, dollar-denominated world, maintaining as many as 250 accounts for central banks that contain approximately $3 trillion in assets. One of the reasons those funds are concentrated in New York is that the United States is seen as among the safest places in the world for central bankers looking to protect assets. At the same time, that massive pool of money represents a rich and tempting target for international thieves and their growing attempts at cybertheft.

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