Swift codes targeted in few Nepali banks cyber attack

KATHMANDU: International media have reported that few Nepali banks have become latest to fall victim to hackers siphoning off millions of dollars by targeting the backbone of the world financial system, SWIFT.

SWIFT, or Society for Worldwide Interbank Telecommunication, is a global financial messaging system that thousands of banks and commercial organisations across the world use to transfer billions of dollars every day.

It has been learned that the concerned authorities of the banks have already requested the Nepal Rastra Bank to initiate the cancellation of transfer of funds with the Central Banks of other countries where the money have already been transferred of lately.

The incident occurred on the day of Laxmi Puja during the Tihar Festival.

Meanwhile, it has not been clear, how, where and how much money have been transferred from Nepali banks.

It has been learned that NIC Asia Bank among others' SWIFT codes have been hacked by unknown hackers by using malware in their system.

Despite repeated attempts for comments, from the concerned authorities of the Central bank and other victim banks, were unavailable.

The Cable News Network (CNN) said the North Korea based hackers might have been involved in latest hacking.  It had suspected that the similar SWIFT code used by the group in South Korean banks hacking in 2013 have been used again.

CNN further said that cash strapped nation might have used hackers to steal funds.

Earlier, a Turkish hacking group "Bozkurtlar" or "Grey Wolves" had hacked two Nepali banks, based in Kathmandu, Business Universal Development Bank and Sanima Bank.

The hackers normally exploit vulnerabilities in the systems of member banks, allowing them to gain control of the banks' legitimate SWIFT credentials.

The hackers then use those credentials to send SWIFT funds transfer request to other banks, which, trusting the messages to be legitimate, then sent the funds to accounts controlled by them.

Lately, numbers of developed nations have been struggling to address cyber attack as it has posed serious threat to the global financial market.