Nepal | May 29, 2020

Rs 35.8m withdrawn in Saturday’s heist: NRB

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, September 4

Hackers had withdrawn an amount worth Rs 35.8 million in different currencies from ATMs of different banks in the country and India in the country’s biggest heist in the banking sector committed by Chinese nationals last Saturday, as per a probe report prepared by Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB).

The central bank on Sunday had formed a taskforce to probe the cyber attack on the banking sector under the coordination of NRB’s Executive Director Bam Bahadur Mishra. Submitting its report to the central bank today, the committee stated that the amount worth Rs 35.8 million had been withdrawn by hackers from different ATM booths of which they had withdrawn Nepali currency worth Rs 16.8 million. The scammers had also withdrawn Indian currency using Nepali ATM cards from ATM booths in India.

However, probe committee has failed to come up with other details regarding how the entire fraud happened, including how looters hacked banking system. “As we lack expertise on this issue, the committee had only collected the monetary details of the banking heist including the total amount of money withdrawn. However, the committee has recommended short-term and long-term measures to ensure security in the banking sector,” said Deputy Governor Chintamani Siwakoti.

As short-term measures, the committee has recommended the NRB to lower the withdrawal limit from ATMs of banks and has also recommended insuring ATM booths of banks and financial institutions. However, NRB officials were reluctant to share further details of the probe report.

Siwakoti informed that concrete details of the banking heist would come only after the forensic test. “The forensic team from Singapore is expected to arrive today evening. The team will probably finalise the forensic report within one week,” he said.

Meanwhile, NRB has already said it will amend its cyber security directive making banks and financial institutions adopt sophisticated technology to prevent the sporadic cyber and malware attacks in the banking system.

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