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Sberbank Wants to Save Skeptical Russian Rivals From Hackers

  • Lender offers to protect other banks against online criminals
  • Cyber-umbrella raises competition questions, analysts say
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A wall of screens blinks with dozens of data incidents at Sberbank PJSC’s cybersecurity war room that monitors 16,000 branches across Russia. An ex-employee’s ID used to enter the system -- a level 3 threat. An ATM catches a virus after it’s serviced -- level 9. A level 10 threat, the equivalent of a Code Red, would be if the bank’s ATM network became infected.

Now the country’s biggest lender wants to bring other Russian banks under its digital umbrella, a move some analysts say may give it an unfair competitive advantage. State-owned Sberbank is cooperating with the Federal Security Service while the lender crafts a nationwide cybershield for use by other financial bodies that it says are woefully unprepared to fight off hackers.