FSM News

It was reported by the security researchers at British defense contractor BAE Systems that hackers from the Bangladesh central bank has stolen worth $81 million, citing assumptions that it was hacked through a software from the SWIFT financial platform that is placed at the heart of the global financial system.

SWIFT is regarded as a cooperative owned by about 3,000 financial institutions. It has confirmed that they’ve considered of malware which aims for client software. Natasha Deteran, SWIFT’s spokeswoman, mentioned that a software update would be unleashed on Monday in order to hinder the malware, and financial institutions will be given a special warning to hold inspections on their security procedures.

The current new developments suggest that it could be more vulnerable compared to the previous hacking attacks, as the cyber-heist came in smoothly and they were able to modify the client software of SWIFT.

Deteran said that a software update was recently issued “to assist customers in enhancing their security and to spot inconsistencies in their local database records. She said the malware has no impact on SWIFT’s network or core messaging services.

The software update, along with a warning from Brussels-based Swift, or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, emanate BAE researchers, considering it has a large business for cyber-security, it has told research firms that a malware has been discovered and were used by Bangladesh Bank attackers in order for SWIFT client software to be manipulated known as Alliance Access.  


BAE is expected to go public on Monday, citing findings over malware through a blog post, in which the attackers have used in order to hide their tracks and to delay discovery of the break-in.

The cyber theft has tried to make deceptive transfers worth $951 million in February from the account of the Bangladesh central bank at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

More than half of the payments were blocked, but worth $81 million was directed to accounts in the Philippines and were diverted to the casinos. It was later found that funds have remained missing.

Investors probing the cyber crime had earlier mentioned the unidentified attackers had intruded into the Bangladesh Bank computers and had manipulated credentials and were used to log into the system of SWIFT. However, there were assumptions that the software of SWIFT on the bank computers was believed to be compromised to remove records of illicit transfers, said the BAE research.   

11,000 banks were using the SWIFT messaging platform, including other institutions throughout the world, though only a few are using the Alliance Access software, Deteran said.

Additional updates are expected on SWIFT as it continues to learn more about the Bangladesh break-in and other potential threats, Deteran said. A warning is also reaffirmed to banks and an internal security review must be done.  


“Whist we keep all our interface products under continual review and recommend that other vendors do the same, the key defense against such attack scenarios is that users implement appropriate security measures in their local environments horse-guard their systems,” Deteran said.

The head of threat intelligence at BAE, Adrian Nish, said, he has never seen a much elaborated scheme from attackers.

Nish said, I cant think of a case where we have seen a criminal go tothe level of effort to customize it for the environment they were operating in,

I guess it was the realization that the potential payoff made that effort worthwhile, he added.

Meanwhile, a spokesman at Bangladesh Bank refrained from giving comments towards BAE’s findings.

A senior official with the Police Criminal Investigation Department at Bangladesh mentioned that there were no specific malware found by investigators, however, the forensic experts are not yet done with probing.