An investigative committee set up by the Bangladesh government has come to the conclusion that it cannot rule out the possibility of an insider leaking out the bank’s internal working to hackers.
According to the head of the panel that has been appointed by the Bangladeshi government to investigate a cyber heist in its central bank, it is likely that officials of a Bangladeshi bank are involved in the theft of $81 million from its account at the New York Federal Reserve Bank which took place earlier this year in February.
Hackers had broken into the computer systems of Bangladesh’s central bank and tried to transfer $951 million of its deposits through SWIFT, a software used globally by banks to relocate funds, to accounts in the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
Alert officials at the New York Federal Reserve Bank prevented the bulk of the transfers, but $81 million sneaked through, speaking allegations by Bangladeshi officials that SWIFT and NY Fed officials failed to detect the fraud.
“Earlier we thought no one from Bangladesh Bank was involved, but now there is a small change,” said Mohammed Farashuddin, a former governor of the Bangladesh central bank. He has however not clarified the nature of these changes.
As per Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, the report from the investigating committee will be made public within 15 to 20 days.
On his part, Farashuddin has also declined to divulge the contents of the report. He has however said, its findings were different from the one that mainly held SWIFT responsible for the cyber heist.
However, he has reiterated the fact that it would be difficult if not impossible for SWIFT to not take responsibility for this attack. Earlier he had said that SWIFT had made a series of mistakes in connecting up a local network in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital.
On its part, SWIFT has denied the accusations.
“The Bangladesh Bank management will follow all instructions given by the government. Actions will be taken as per instruction by the government if any central bank officials were found guilty,” said Subhankar Saha, a spokesman for Bangladesh Bank. He went on to add that he has yet to read the report or receive instructions from the government on this matter.