A pedestrian walks past a branch of the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) in Fuzhou, Fujian Province, China.

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Chinese bank ICBC’s U.S. financial services division was hit by a cyberattack that reportedly disrupted trading in government bonds.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s largest lender by assets, said Thursday that its financial services division had experienced a ransomware attack “which resulted in disruptions to certain” systems.

Immediately after discovering the hack, ICBC “isolated the affected systems to contain the incident,” the bank said.

Ransomware is a type of cyber attack. Hackers take control of systems or information and only release them once the victim has paid a ransom. It is a type of attack that has become increasingly popular among criminals in recent years.

ICBC did not disclose who was behind the attack, but said it is “conducting a thorough investigation and advancing its recovery efforts with the support of its professional team of information security experts.”

The Chinese bank also said it was cooperating with law enforcement.

ICBC said it “successfully completed” U.S. Treasury transactions conducted on Wednesday and repo financing transactions conducted on Thursday. A repo is a repurchase agreement, a type of short-term borrowing for government bond traders.

However, several news outlets reported that there were disruptions in trading in US Treasury bonds. The Financial Times said on Friday, citing traders and banks, that the ransomware attack had prevented the ICBC division from executing treasury trades on behalf of other market participants.

The US Treasury Department told CNBC: “We are aware of the cybersecurity issues and are in regular contact with key financial sector participants in addition to federal regulators. We continue to monitor the situation.”

ICBC said its U.S. financial services division’s email and business systems operate independently of ICBC’s China operations. The systems at ICBC’s headquarters, ICBC’s New York branch and other affiliated institutions domestically and internationally were not affected by the cyberattack, ICBC said.

— CNBC’s Steve Kopack contributed to this article.

Source : www.cnbc.com

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