Indian banks are reportedly on alert after India’s national security establishment cited the possibility of the involvement of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, in the theft of $81 million from Bangladesh’s Central Bank. According to a report by the Economic Times, a high level government official communicated the concerns of India’s security establishment to the Reserve bank of India, urging it to be cautious.
In February 2016, the world saw its latest and one of the largest bank heists till date. The robbers hacked into U.S. account of Bangladesh’s Central bank and were able get away with $81 million. The bank robberies which are done by men dressed in black with shotguns have been replaced by a person typing codes on his computer.
In the Bangladesh heist, the hackers used malware to access the bank’s computers and spoof messages to the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank. According to the testimony at a senate hearing in Philippines, $81 million was transferred from New York Fed to Philippine banks and then, the funds were distributed to casinos and then cashed at Manila.
The ongoing senate hearing regarding the heist is still in a tussle to determine exactly how the money was stolen, and so another hearing has been scheduled next week. Cases like these mostly go unpunished because the perpetrators remain a mystery.
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been stolen in recent years from banks and financial services. Last year, Kaspersky, the software security maker publicised the activities of the Carbanak gang which hacked money from almost a 100 banks. They had hacked into banks and ordered fraudulent money transfers and were able to steal about $2.5 million to $10 million per heist. They had also forced ATMs to cough out cash. In March, in a U.S. court, a Turkish hacker was found guilty, having stolen about $40 million from ATMs in 24 countries within 10 hours!
Owing to the digital revolution and the alliance between digital and traditional criminals, many victims do not report the thefts for fear of damage of reputation.