Bangladesh heist linked to previous attempts

  • Link between Sony and Bangladesh bank hacks
  • Same malware used to target Vietnamese bank
Bangladesh heist linked to previous attempts

A TEAM from BAE Systems examining the US$81-million hack of the Bangladesh central bank in February think that there may be a connection with the devastating attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014.
Global banking payments organisation Swift warned that at least one other bank was targeted by the attackers, which might be a Vietnamese commercial bank. Swift has claimed that the malware used in both attacks is similar, although no money was stolen from the Vietnamese bank.
The malware used in the attacks against both banks exhibited "the same unique characteristics" as software used in Operation Blockbuster, a campaign that dates back to at least 2009 and includes the Sony hack, according to a Reuters report.
The Bangladesh Bank was robbed of US$81 million in February after attackers gained access to its Swift payments infrastructure and filed a series of payments to an account at the Federal Reserve of New York.
The attackers attempted to make payments totalling $951m, but were stopped when Deutsche Bank, one of the correspondent banks routing the payments, raised a query over an obvious spelling error in the beneficiary's name in one of the payments.
The attackers had already set up accounts with banks in Sri Lanka and the Philippines to receive the loot. After the Sony hack, there was conjecture that the secretive North Korean state was behind it.
The recent attacks on banks and the Swift payments system indicate some inside knowledge of Swift and the way in which it works, which isn't exactly common knowledge, and an ability to craft sophisticated, targeted malware to support the attacks.
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