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The Financial Express

Govt alerts banks over possible cyber attack

| Updated: November 23, 2020 10:18:06


-Reuters file photo -Reuters file photo

The government has issued an alert over a possible cyber attack, prompting the banks to strengthen surveillance at automated teller machine (ATM) booths.

Some banks have shut ATM operations fearing cyber attack after receiving a letter from the Financial Institutions Division last Thursday about the imminent threat, reports bdnews24.com.

The letter stated that North Korean group of hackers called the “Beagle Boyz”, 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 Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) network used by banks to transfer funds among themselves.

State-owned Rupali Bank suspended ATM operations from 11:00 pm on Saturday to 7:00 am 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 (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.

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