Bangladesh puts banks on alert over possible cyber-attack

  • Abdur Rahim Harmachi, Chief Economics Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-11-22 03:46:58 BdST

bdnews24

The government has issued an alert over possible cyber-attack, prompting the banks to strengthen surveillance at ATM booths.

Some banks have shut ATM operations fearing cyber theft on receiving a letter from the Financial Institutions Division last Thursday about the imminent threat.

The letter stated that North Korean group of hackers called the “BeagleBoyz”, which was involved in the 2016 cyber-heist of the Bangladesh Bank’s foreign currency reserves , may try to withdraw money from ATMs and hack SWIFT network used by banks to transfer funds among themselves.

State-owned Rupali Bank suspended ATM operations from 11pm on Saturday to 7am on Sunday due to the threat. It has communicated to its customers about the pause in service via text message.

Mohammad Shams-Ul Islam, the managing director and CEO of another state-owned bank, Agrani, said they had strengthened security after receiving the instructions.

Tarique M Barkaullah, the government’s Computer Incident Response Team or CIRT, however, said they had no information about threats from the North Korean hackers.

He said they posted a notice on their website after receiving a threat alert on a mercenary group of hackers called “CostaRicto” targeting South Asian financial institutions.

“But there is nothing to be afraid of a cyber-attack here (CostaRicto threat),” he said and added that it was a routine alert.

Bangladesh Bank did not issue any alert until Saturday night.

It had issued an alert by the end of August, asking the banks to be alert to the dangers posed by the North Korean hackers’ group.

Some banks had suspended nighttime online and ATM transactions at the time.