News Burst: Cracker holds bank to ransom

Czechoslovakia's largest bank claims it is secure despite incident.

A cracker is holding Czechoslovakia's largest bank, Ceska Sporitelna, to ransom after breaking into its computer system and threatening to sell customer details to the highest bidders.

To prove his (or her) point the cracker sent personal information along with transaction details of a number of clients via email which was circulated to targeted Czech firms.

Ceska Sporitelna claims that customer accounts are entirely safe despite the stunt, but it has come at a bad time: the bank is in the final stages of privatisation.

A recent international report suggested that banks are at risk from extortion by high-tech criminals. (See "Banks hit by high-tech extortion".)

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