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Current Affairs

North Korea hackers steal money from Bangladesh Bank

Date: 28 June 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A recent investigative documentary was released by BBC on the stealing of money by North Korean hackers from Bangladesh Bank.

 

Background

The journalists consider this event as one of the biggest cyber heists, which allowed the hackers to almost succeed in their plans.

 

Details

  • The hackers were able to exploit loopholes in administrative sections of global banking system to carry out transfer of money.

  • This heist has been christened Bangladesh Bank robbery and took place on February 4-7 in the year 2016.

  • The plan was made taking careful consideration of time difference between Dhaka and New York City. There was also emphasis on the weekend days in both the cities.

  • The hackers made use of SWIFT payment system to create fraudulent orders to steal all the money present in the account of Bangladesh’s central bank.

  • For the robbery, the hackers used Federal Reserve Bank account in New York for transferring the funds to Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation.

 

Process of heist

  • Hackers used a printer present in the office of the headquarters to print fake transaction records. The employees assumed that the printer was malfunctioning.

  • The printer was the first indication of hacking when the Bangladesh Bank received urgent message from Federal Bank regarding a request that it had received to completely drain Bangladesh Bank’s dollars account.

  • The authorities could not reach New York as the bank was already closed. The next day was holiday in Bangladesh and till the bank opened back, weekend had started in New York.

 

Tracing the money

  • The hackers could not completely transfer the money due to glitches and were only able to access $ 81 million. The amount was transferred to Manila in Philippines.

  • The money from Manila was withdrawn and converted in Casino chips, which made it impossible to trace.

  • The Bangladesh government could recover $16 million but the rest amount quickly disappeared into the border towns of China with North Korea.

  • Currently Bangladesh has filed a law suit for recovery of the amount from banks used in illegal transaction. The case is still pending.