Hackers have attacked the European Central Bank (ECB), stealing personal data including emails addresses and contact information from the organization’s public website.
In a statement the bank said that no market sensitive data had been taken and that its internal systems had not been compromised.
However, they also noted that the breach had gone unnoticed until an anonymous individual emailed to demand “financial compensation for the data”.
Speaking to The Independent, a spokesperson for the ECB clarified that the hackers had not specified how much money they wanted but that they had threatened to "find another buyer" if their demands were not met. The ECB refused to pay.
The information stolen belonged to individuals signed up to the ECB’s website to attend events such as conferences. The bank suggested that these might include journalists, although they did not rule out the possibility that data for financial workers had also been taken.
“The ECB is contacting people whose email addresses or other data might have been compromised and all passwords have been changed on the system as a precaution,” said the bank, adding that it had contacted German police about the theft and that an investigation into the matter had begun.
The ECB's main responsibility is to maintain price stability in the EU, ensuring that neither rapid inflation or deflation grips any of the member states - especially those that use the euro.