SWIFT says helping Bangladesh Bank rebuild network after cyber heist

Some 250 foreign central banks and governments keep more than $3 trillion of their assets at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. (Reuters)
Updated 03 February 2019
0

SWIFT says helping Bangladesh Bank rebuild network after cyber heist

NEW DELHI: International payments network SWIFT said on Saturday it had signed an agreement with Bangladesh's central bank to help it rebuild its infrastructure after hackers used it to steal $81 million in 2016 in the world's biggest cyber heist.
Unidentified hackers, suspected to be from North Korea, carried out the heist by breaching Bangladesh Bank's systems and using the SWIFT network to send fraudulent money transfer orders to the New York branch of the U.S. central bank, with which the Dhaka bank has an account.
SWIFT's comments came after the New York Fed on Friday agreed to provide "technical assistance" to Bangladesh Bank in its lawsuit against Manila-based Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC). RCBC was used to funnel the money, much of which disappeared into the casinos of the Philippines.
RCBC has called the legal action Bangladesh Bank filed on Thursday as beyond the U.S. jurisdiction, "completely baseless" and "nothing more than a thinly veiled PR campaign" to shift blame from itself.
"SWIFT, the New York Fed and Bangladesh Bank have worked together since the cyber fraud event occurred ... to recover the entire proceeds of the crime and to bring the perpetrators to justice in cooperation with law enforcement from other jurisdictions," SWIFT said in a statement to Reuters.
The firm would continue to lend its support to international efforts to protect the global financial system from future cyber attacks, it added.
SWIFT - the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, a cooperative used by thousands of financial institutions around the world - did not say if it would also help Bangladesh Bank with the court case in New York.
A person familiar with the technical assistance agreement said the Fed would prepare affidavits and clear employees to testify at hearings or a trial, and also allow Bangladesh Bank to interview employees. It would also provide relevant non-privileged documents and information to Bangladesh Bank or to the court.
Bangladesh Bank lawyer Ajmalul Hossain QC declined to comment on SWIFT's role in the legal case against RCBC.
In its suit filed with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Bangladesh Bank accused RCBC and dozens of others, including several top executives, of involvement in a "massive" and "intricately planned" multi-year conspiracy to steal its money.
A 2016 Reuters investigation https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/cyber-heist-federal into the heist found that a series of missteps and miscommunication between the Fed and Bangladesh, little emergency backup, and slow reactions in New York to early warning signs all contributed.


‘Don’t be too optimistic’: Huawei employees fret at US ban

Updated 26 May 2019
0

‘Don’t be too optimistic’: Huawei employees fret at US ban

  • This week Google, whose Android operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones, said it would cut ties with Huawei
  • Another critical partner, ARM Holdings, said it was complying with the US restrictions

BEIJING: While Huawei’s founder brushes aside a US ban against his company, the telecom giant’s employees have been less sanguine, confessing fears for their future in online chat rooms.
Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei declared this week the company has a hoard of microchips and the ability to make its own in order to withstand a potentially crippling US ban on using American components and software in its products.
“If you really want to know what’s going on with us, you can visit our Xinsheng Community,” Ren told Chinese media, alluding to Huawei’s internal forum partially open to viewers outside the company.
But a peek into Xinsheng shows his words have not reassured everyone within the Shenzhen-based company.
“During difficult times, what should we do as individuals?” posted an employee under the handle Xiao Feng on Thursday.
“At home reduce your debts and maintain enough cash,” Xiao Feng wrote.
“Make a plan for your financial assets and don’t be overly optimistic about your remuneration and income.”
This week Google, whose Android operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones, said it would cut ties with Huawei as a result of the ban.
Another critical partner, ARM Holdings — a British designer of semiconductors owned by Japanese group Softbank — said it was complying with the US restrictions.
“On its own Huawei can’t resolve this problem, we need to seek support from government policy,” one unnamed employee wrote last week, in a post that received dozens of likes and replies.
The employee outlined a plan for China to block off its smartphone market from all American components much in the same way Beijing fostered its Internet tech giants behind a “Great Firewall” that keeps out Google, Facebook, Twitter and dozens of other foreign companies.
“Our domestic market is big enough, we can use this opportunity to build up domestic suppliers and our ecosystem,” the employee wrote.
For his part, Ren advocated the opposite response in his interview with Chinese media.
“We should not promote populism; populism is detrimental to the country,” he said, noting that his family uses Apple products.
Other employees strategized ways to circumvent the US ban.
One advocated turning to Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Taobao to buy the needed components. Another dangled the prospect of setting up dozens of new companies to make purchases from US suppliers.
Many denounced the US and proposed China ban McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and all-American movies and TV shows.
“First time posting under my real name: we must do our jobs well, advance and retreat with our company,” said an employee named Xu Jin.
The tech ban caps months of US effort to isolate Huawei, whose equipment Washington fears could be used as a Trojan horse by Chinese intelligence services.
Still, last week Trump indicated he was willing to include a fix for Huawei in a trade deal that the two economic giants have struggled to seal and US officials issued a 90-day reprieve on the ban.
In Xinsheng, an employee with the handle Youxin lamented: “I want to advance and retreat alongside the company, but then my boss told me to pack up and go,” followed by two sad-face emoticons.