Bangladesh central bank suspends internal online services over possible cyberattack

Bangladesh central bank suspends internal online services over possible cyberattack

Bangladesh Bank takes precautions after threat by Indian group threatening to hack banks, government agencies, healthcare institutions

By SM Najmus Sakib

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) - Bangladesh's central bank has suspended several internal online services in a bid to prevent a possible cyberattack.

Some web-based services of Bangladesh Bank (BB) were closed for a span of 36 hours starting on Monday night as a cautionary measure to avoid incident similar to a 2016 cyberattack in which hackers stole nearly $1 billion, the central bank said in a circular.

Its Executive Director Md. Mezbaul Haque told Anadolu on Tuesday that the bank had strengthened its vigilance and surveillance since Sunday to guard against any possible cyberattack.

"We have only shut some internal online services systems and those won't disrupt any public services," he added.

The move follows an alert by the country's electronic incident response team on Aug. 4 that a hacker group planned on attacking critical information infrastructure, banks, financial institutions, and government and private agencies on Tuesday.

Earlier in 2016, hackers stole nearly $1 billion from the account of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York that belonged to the Bangladeshi central bank. The hackers made away with less than one-tenth the amount in the biggest cyber heist in history.

However, the bank has made little progress in recovering the money.

Haque said officials are on high alert and issued the circular, not just for the for the possible cyberattack, but also for maintenance of some 126 internal services.

"The increased surveillance will continue for some more days," Haque confirmed.

Following the cyberattack warning, the central bank on Thursday also issued an 11-point directive asking all banks and financial institutions to be alert and counter possible strikes.

The cyber security alert came after a group of hackers, calling themselves hacktivists from India, threatened banks, financial institutions, healthcare providers, and government agencies in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The group said an attack could take place on Aug. 15, national day on which Bangladesh mourns death of its founder.

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