The ongoing investigation into identifying the hackers who stole nearly $81 million from the central bank of Bangladesh has taken a new twist.
The latest developments, reported exclusively by Reuters, are that some Bangladesh central bank officials are believed to have purposely exposed the financial institution's computer systems, which enabled hackers to pull off what's considered to be the largest bank heist in history.
A police investigator in Dhaka told Reuters that the investigation now has solid leads into who is responsible for the cyberattack. Mohammad Shah Alam, head of the Forensic Training Institute of the Bangladesh police's criminal investigation department, also confirmed that arrests will soon take place.
This isn’t the first time that authorities have pointed the finger at the Bangladesh central bank during the investigation. Back in April, investigators said the bank’s own security shortcomings left it vulnerable to fraudsters. Alam said that the Bangladesh central bank did not have a firewall and used secondhand $10 switches to network its computers.
According to the head of a Bangladesh government panel that investigated the heist, five bank officials have been identified as unwitting accomplices in the heist due to their negligence.
But Alam told Reuters that some bank officials knowingly created vulnerabilities between the bank and the SWIFT global messaging and payments system.
“Bangladesh Bank's SWIFT network was made insecure by some bank employees in connivance with some foreign people,” he said. “They knew what they were doing.”
Though Alam did not identify the names of the suspects, he did confirm that the investigators are now trying to identify connections between the suspected officials and the hackers.