The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has become the latest known target of a significant cyber attack.
A cybersecurity expert said the intruders' goal had been to install software that would give a nation state a "digital insider presence" on the IMF network.
Such a presence could yield a trove of non-public economic data used by the Fund to promote exchange rate stability, support balanced international trade and provide resources to remedy members' balance-of-payments crises.
"It was a targeted attack," said Tom Kellerman, who has worked for both international financial institutions and who serves on the board of a group known as the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance.
The code used in the IMF incident was developed specifically for the attack on the institution, said Kellerman, formerly responsible for cyber-intelligence within the World Bank's treasury team and now chief technology officer at AirPatrol, a cyber consultancy.
The attack on the IMF was the latest to become known in a rash of cyber break-ins that have targeted high-profile companies and institutions, often to steal secrets with potentially far-reaching economic implications.