Security & Fraud

Bangladesh Taps SWIFT Into Technician Investigations


Among the latest developments in the ongoing investigation into the $81 million stolen in a cyberheist: Bangladesh has asked global financial network SWIFT to help its police officers question a number of technicians who were sent to Dhaka — before the heist — and who set up a new banking transaction system.

Those technicians were sent to Bangladesh from what Reuters reported was “around the world” in the second half of last year. The technicians may have introduced vulnerabilities when connecting SWIFT to the nation’s first real-time gross settlement system.

In an interview, a source left unnamed by Reuters, tied to the investigation, said: “We have some specific and tangible evidence against the technicians … they have to defend themselves. The technicians may have acted without the knowledge of SWIFT, in their personal capacity.”

The newswire also said that, beyond the aforementioned technicians, who number half a dozen, senior SWIFT officials have also been asked to come to Dhaka. The source noted that some of the technicians had left their own security procedures by the wayside, leaving some important data exposed. SWIFT has, in turn, denied that it had lax policies in place regarding the technology. The network has said that its financial messaging system was not compromised during the heist. As has been reported, hackers in February sent fraudulent messages to the NY Fed, looking to transfer roughly $1 billion from Bangladesh’s accounts with the NY Fed.



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.

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