The government is set to arrange the first-ever National Cyber Drill (NCD 2020) on December 12 with an aim to enhance the skills of the cyber security personnel and prepare them for possible disasters.
The state-run Bangladesh e-Government Computer Incident Response Team (BGD e-Gov CIRT) under the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology has organised it.
The registration for the event started on November 18, and will end on December 7. Details of participation in the cyber drill have been published on the BGD e-GOV CIRT's website - www.cirt.gov.bd.
The drill will be attended by cyber security professionals from various organisations of public and private sectors, university students, and people who are interested in building a career in cyber security in future.
The government formed the BGD e-Gov CIRT just after the incident of the Bangladesh Bank's reserve heist to combat such incidents.
This year's event will be organised on the occasion of Digital Bangladesh Day. The day is celebrated across the country on December 12 every year to highlight the incumbent Awami League-led government's tech-bound vision.
On December 12, 2017, the day was first observed as National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Day. The cabinet renamed the day as Digital Bangladesh Day on November 26, 2018.
From 2021, the BGD e-GOV CIRT will arrange at least one drill in every two months.
Tarique M Barkatullah, project director - the BGD e-GOV CIRT, and also director of the National Data Centre, told the FE that cyber crimes are increasing day by day amid gradual digitisation of the government and private sector entities.
The country is now facing lack of manpower readiness in terms of ensuring cyber security although private and public sectors have no equipment shortage (in this regard), he also said.
In the banking sector, the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) is providing trainings to those who are involved in ensuring cyber security that would help to efficiently handle cyber attacks.
Regarding widespread and rampant cyber attacks, Mr Barkatullah opined that awareness, capacity and skills should be brought to people, especially in the universities, the government's security agencies, and banks and non-bank financial institutions.
The top managements of organisations of different important sectors often remain in quandary to take appropriate steps, as they get different suggestions from different experts, which also enhances risk, the project director noted.
According to a study of the BIBM, only 38 per cent of the banks are fully equipped to combat cyber attacks, 34 per cent are partially prepared, and 28 per cent are totally vulnerable.
The incidents of cyber attacks are on rise at different commercial and service-providing outlets despite taking various preventive measures. It happens so, as the country has achieved good progress especially on the socio-economic front in the era of digitisation.
Due to a leap in IT-related crimes, the issue of cyber security has become a matter of serious concern among most of the government and private entities.
According to the BGD e-Gov CIRT, the incidents registered with the organisation increased to 870 in 2018 from 683 in 2017, while the number was 379 in 2016.
Of the attacks, vulnerability accounts for 63.2 per cent, intrusion or hacking 5.7 per cent, malicious code 22.5 per cent, abusive content 4.5, and the rest comprise fraudulence, intrusion attempts, service request, information security, and others.
But the actual number of attacks is much higher, as a good number of commercial or service-providing outlets do not report such incidents to the state-owned special unit, insiders said.
Capitalising on weaknesses in the security system of the central bank, including possible involvement of some of its employees, perpetrators were able to steal US$81 million, which was transferred to the Philippines on February 05, 2016.
Since the largest cyber heist in the history of global financial forgery, the government took the issue very seriously, considering its damage to the economy, and formed the CIRT. After that, no major cyber crime took place in the state-run financial institutions.