Bangladeshi Banks Are Not Properly Cyber Secure

Many countries have cyber banking security problems and one recent example is in Bangladesh, where the national Bangladesh Bank has warned all banks about new cyber attacks from N. Korean hacking groups. These hackers have resumed targeting banks worldwide through the use of fraudulent international money transfers and ATM cash-outs.

It is believed that the North Korean hackers were responsible for stealing $81 million from the central Bangladesh Bank in 2016, and have engaged in fraudulent ATM cash-outs affecting upwards of 30 countries in a single incident. The Bangladesh National Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT)  believe the North Korean Hacker group’s ‘Beagle Boys’, were attempting to attack the country’s banking establishments.

Many Bangladeshi banks have now their restricted their ATMs, cards and online transactions and strengthened their security measures after the cyber alert.  However, most banks in the country have no updates or new strategies to counter hackers. They need better security structures for online transactions and lack of cyber security skills.

These issues were raised by Tanvir Hassan Zoha, Cyber security researcher and Managing Director of  Backdoor Private Ltd  at a recent event called ‘Behind ATM Hacking’ held at the Economic Reporters’ Forum (ERF) held in the nation's capital, Dhaka.  Zoha says  that  network systems of many financial institutions in Bangladesh, including banks, are unknowingly infected with malware. 

From August 27 most Bangladeshi banks have restricted their ATMs, cards and online transactions and strengthened their security measures to avoid the risk of being hacked following an alert issues by the national Bangladesh Bank and a number of local banks are yet to fully reinstate their ATM, credit card and online transaction services even after the Bangladesh Bank withdrew the alert.

Even though many Bangladeshi banks have increased their cyber security, still the skills and security investment is lacking.

Zoha said banks should be more aware of local hackers as a threat to the banking system and recommends that banks quickly identify the areas of weakness in their systems, enhance monitoring over networking of banks, create awareness, arrange practical trainings on cyber security and should file prosecutions against known hackers. 

The Bangladesh Bank has issued several alerts to all banks about possible cyber attacks in the past year past and the larger commercial banks are though to be taking precautionary measures about the online transactions whist the central bank is also monitoring foreign currency transactions.

Dhaka Tribune:     Business Standard:      Daily Observer:       Prothomalo:

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