Govt alerts banks about cyberattack threat


The government has alerted banks about the threat of a cyberattack, instructing them to put in place precautionary measures to prevent hackers from stealing money.

The financial institutions division of the finance ministry had sent a letter to banks on Thursday asking them to take necessary measures, said an official of a bank, preferring anonymity.

A North Korean hacker group named “Beagle Boys”, which had been involved in stealing money from the central bank’s foreign exchange reserve in 2016, may try to hack into ATM booths of banks and the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) network to steal funds.

Some banks have already taken precautionary measures as per the instruction of the ministry.

State-owned Rupali Bank has suspended the operation of ATM booths from 11:00pm to 7:00am.

In August, Bangladesh Bank had alerted banks about a possible cybersecurity threat to bank transactions through ATM booth, credit cards and other modes of online banking.

Since then, almost all banks kept the service of automated teller machines (ATMs) and point of sales (POS) suspended from 12:00am to 7:00am.

In an earlier cyberattack in February 2016, hackers stole $101 million from the Bangladesh Bank’s account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Of the sum, $81 million ended up in the Philippines and $20 million in Sri Lanka.

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