Daily Management Review

Second Bank Faces Malware Attack while BAE Claims Bangladesh Bank heist similar to Sony Hack


Second Bank Faces Malware Attack while BAE Claims Bangladesh Bank heist similar to Sony Hack
While global financial network SWIFT disclosed a previously unreported attack on a commercial bank, the hack at Sony Corp's film studio in 2014 was connected to the cyber heist of $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank by investigators probing it.
Cyber-security firm BAE Systems said a Vietnamese bank, which it did not name, had been a target even though SWIFT did not say which commercial bank it was or whether it had lost money. There was no immediate comment from authorities in Hanoi and it was not clear if they were referring to the same attack.
Forensic experts believed the second case showed that the Bangladesh heist was not a single occurrence but part of a wider campaign targeting banks, SWIFT, the linchpin of the global financial system said.
The hacker has been able to obtain user credentials and submitting fraudulent SWIFT messages that correspond with transfers of money after they succeeded in penetrating the targeted banks' systems in both the cases, SWIFT said.
Its core messaging service has not been compromised, the cooperative has maintained. However scrutiny on the security of a network used by 11,000 financial institutions globally is likely to be increased by the confirmation of a second attack on a bank.
Hackers were still inside the bank's network, monitoring the investigation into one of the biggest cyber heists in the world, cyber-security experts hired by the central bank in Bangladesh said.
"We have engaged forensic experts to investigate the whole thing, including this," said a Bangladesh Bank spokesman when asked about the report.
One team of hackers, dubbed Group Zero remained inside the network and was responsible for the heist, according to investigators. Group Zero is unlikely to be able to order fraudulent fund transfers, the investigators said in the report even as they may be seeking to monitor the ongoing cyber investigations or cause other damage.
The investigator said that the bank's network, which is linked to the SWIFT international transaction system also have two other groups inside it. The report noted that one of the two is a "nation-state actor" "not known to be destructive" but are engaged in stealing information in attacks that are stealthy.
A spokeswoman for SWIFT said she was unable to comment.
Except that they were using mostly commodity, or off-the-shelf, hacking tools, there was no information available to the investigators about the third group of hackers which was found inside the network.
The report, which was submitted earlier this month, did not further identify any of the groups.
Meanwhile evidence linking malicious software used in the Bangladesh heist to the high-profile attack on Sony's Hollywood studio in 2014 and other cases were claimed to have been uncovered by BAE Systems, Europe's largest weapons maker, which also has a large cyber-security business.
"What initially looked to be an isolated incident at one Asian bank turned out to be part of a wider campaign," BAE's cyber-security team said in a report it released on Friday.
A recently used malware that was targeted at a Vietnamese commercial bank using fraudulent messages on the SWIFT money-transfer network have also been uncovered, claimed BAE. It said that operation of the malware was similar to that in the Bangladesh Bank hack case.


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