Billion-dollar financial giant EquiLend hit by cyberattack - some systems offline, major banks and lending firms affected

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EquiLend, a global financial technology, data and analytics firm, suffered a cyberattack - possibly ransomware - that forced parts of its digital infrastructure offline.

In a press release, EquiLend said that on January 22, 2024, its technicians identified a “technical issue that placed portions of our system offline.” Following an investigation, the company identified a cybersecurity incident in which unnamed threat actors gained unauthorized access. 

“We took immediate steps to secure our systems and are working methodically to restore the involved services as quickly as possible,” the press release reads.

Targeting merging firms

To help address the issue and restore services, EquiLend brought in third-party cybersecurity professionals and “other professional advisers”. The process, according to the press release, may take several days.

The company was founded in 2001 by a consortium of financial services institutions. Founding members include Barclays Global Investors, Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, JPMorganChase, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Northern Trust, State Street, and UBS Warburg. 

As per The Record, the company’s goal was to improve the efficiency of the securities finance industry and has, to that end, created a centralized platform for trading and post-trade services. EquiLend now operates a regulated platform called NGT that services more than $2.4 trillion in monthly transactions. 

A spokesperson for a global consortium of financial institutions told CNN that firms would have to move to manual processes while the platform was down, The Record reported.

The FBI recently warned companies of hackers specifically targeting firms that are in the process of merging, or acquisitions. Last week, EquiLend announced that it will soon be acquired by Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe (WCAS), a private equity firm from the United States. Following regulatory approval, the transaction is expected to wrap up in the second quarter of the year.

Via BleepingComputer

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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.