The scope of the attack remains unknown, according to the New York Times, which broke news of the incident Saturday. But it noted that the IMF, which helps manage financial crises around the world, is “the repository of highly confidential information about the fiscal condition of many nations.”
The attack took place over the last several months and was disclosed internally by the IMF on Wednesday to its staff and board of directors, said the Times, which cited unnamed senior officials as its source. An IMF spokesman confirmed to the paper that the fund is investigating an “incident” but declined to give details. The spokesman said the fund remains “fully functional.”
One unnamed official told the Times it had been a “very major breach.”
The incident is apparently unrelated to the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the IMF who was arrested in New York last month for allegedly sexually assaulting a hotel maid. It also appears unrelated to a March break-in at RSA Security that compromised its SecurID access system, the Times reported.
The IMF’s computer systems include communications with national leaders who have been negotiating the terms of international bailouts, the Times said. One official referred to those agreements as “political dynamite.”
The paper emphasized that it was unclear what information the hackers were able to access, however, and the IMF has not said where the attack originated.