Open a newspaper, and it seems like Russian hackers have their hands in too many aspects of life around the globe to count. So it's actually kind of reassuring that Russia can be victimized by hackers too, as the Russian central bank has been according to a recent CNN report.
The Bank of Russia confirmed recently that over the course of 2016, cybercriminals were able to abscond with 2 billion rubles – about the same as $31 million in American dollars. Details on the attacks are understandably being kept under wraps, but according to one of the bank's security executives, Artiom Sychev, they were able to recover some of the stolen funds, and the hackers had attempted to steal as much as 5 billion rubles by way of the attacks. It wasn't just commercial banks connected to the Bank of Russia's global financial network that were targeted, but cash out of individual clients' pockets as well, through some unspecified means.
Despite the Bank of Russia's policy of keeping details on the crime(s) close to the vest, parallels between the hacks and other cybercrimes targeting the global financial system have been pointed out by journalists. Early last year, hackers used illicitly-got access to global interbank network SWIFT to steal money from Wells Fargo and a bank in the Philippines several months later. Authorities eventually determined that last year's hacks were probably the work of a North Korean group called "Lazarus," but it's not known who was able to hack into the Bank of Russia's system or who they're affiliated with.
On the bright side, Russian authorities made another announcement on the same day as the one revealing the theft of the 2 billion rubles, that they were able to thwart a different attempt by hackers to attack the country's financial system in a different way. Instead of stealing money, the hackers were allegedly interested in a volley of "denial of service" attacks targeting various banking operations. According to the authorities, they were also planning on mass text messages and a social media campaign to undermine Russian banks' credibility in the eyes of the public – these hackers were prevented from carrying out their plans though, which evidently means it's easier to steal money than public faith.