Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– An international cyber security watchdog identified that hackers who stole $81 million from Bangladesh Bank (BB) were linked to hacking of another bank in the Philippines after an abortive attempt on a Vietnam bank alongside the 2014 hack on Sony Pictures Entertainment.
“Symantec has found evidence that a bank in the Philippines has also been attacked by the group that stole US$81 million from the Bangladesh central bank and attempted to steal over $1 million from the Tien Phong Bank in Vietnam,” cyber security company Symantec Corp said in a blog post on Thursday.
The watchdog did not name the Philippines bank or say if any money was stolen from there, but said traced the attack back to October last year while it also confirmed that the Philippines incident would represent the fourth known cyber attack against a bank involving fraudulent SWIFT messages.
Banks around the world use secure SWIFT messages for issuing payment instructions to each other.
Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, which is more known as SWIFT, earlier this week urged banks across the world to bolster their security, saying it was “aware of multiple attacks”.
Symantec, on the other hand, said it identified three pieces of malware which were used in limited targeted attacks against financial institutions in Southeast Asia where hackers infiltrated the banks computers but there was no evidence of money being stolen.
The Symantec statement came nearly a month after security firm BAE Systems said it uncovered evidence linking malicious software used in the Bangladesh heist to the Sony hack.
According to international media reports, the February incident of the Bangladesh central bank’s hack prompted regulators and financial institutions across the globe to step up scrutiny of their cyber security of SWIFT payments system.
Cyber thieves in February this year used SWIFT messages to make fraudulent transfers totaling $81 million out of the Bangladesh Bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.