• Friday, Oct 30, 2020
  • Last Update : 09:48 pm

Hacking alert: Banks in Bangladesh limit ATMs, cards and online transactions to avoid risks

  • Published at 01:42 pm September 7th, 2020
ATM
A man withdraws cash from an ATM Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Some banks have suspended ATM transactions at night

Most of the banks have restricted their ATMs, cards and online transactions and strengthened their security measures to avoid the risk of being hacked as Bangladesh Bank alerted banks about a cyber hacking risk.

Some banks have suspended their automated teller machine (ATM) booths transactions from 12am to 6am, EMV transactions from ATMs, BEFTN transactions and SWIFT transactions. 

Recently, various international organizations informed the Bangladesh Government’s Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT) that a North Korean hacker group is attempting to attack Bangladesh’s banking industry, said a high official of the Bangladesh Bank.

The CIRT disclosed the issue to the central bank (Bangladesh Bank) and on August 27, BB alerted banks about the risk of cyber hacking, he also said. 

The Bangladesh Bank official said the Bangladesh Bank also instructed banks to strengthen their security measures to avoid the risk of being hacked.

Private commercial bank Brac Bank has suspended its ATM booth transactions from 12am to 6am after getting Bangladesh Bank’s alert.

Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Brac Bank Executive Vice President (communications) Ekram Kabir said: “We strengthened our security measures in ATMs, cards and online transactions and suspended our ATM services at night.

“We also informed our customers about the issue through SMS,” he added.

Private commercial Dutch Bangla Bank, Islami Bank Bangladesh, City Bank and Trust Bank also suspended their ATM booth services at night. Besides, almost all the banks have strengthened their security measures in case of ATMs, cards and online transactions.

“We also strengthened our security measures to avoid the risk,” said Mutual Trust Bank Managing Director Syed Mahbubur Rahman.

The North Korean Hacker group’s name is Beagle Boys. They are trying to steal money from various banks around the world through ATM booths and fake transactions. 

Previously, the hacker group embezzled billions of dollars through cyber attacks, according to Bangladesh Government’s CIRT.

In June of 2019, Dutch Bangla Bank Limited (DBBL) lost as much as $1.4 million (around Tk11 crore) due to a cyber attack.

“DBBL authorities informed Bangladesh Bank about the heist reportedly taking place from Cyprus, Russia, and Ukraine,” a top central bank official, preferring anonymity, had told Dhaka Tribune.

In the case of DBBL, criminals stole around $1.4 million in the beginning of May from teller machines in those countries using cloned credit cards, and personal identification numbers (PINs) of the DBBL.

On February 5, 2016, unidentified hackers stole $101 million from Bangladesh Bank's account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York using fake orders on the SWIFT payment system. It was one of the biggest cybercrimes in the world.

According to a BIBM research paper, the IT departments of around 50% banks of the country are faced with security threats, as they are still lacking managed switches, next generation firewalls, and email gateways, which are vital for ensuring network security in banks.


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