Thursday, 29th December , 2016, 07:58 pm,BDST
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Detective’s uncertainty on BB IT technicians



Lastnewsbd, 29th December, Dhaka: A top investigator into the electronic theft of $81m from the Bangladesh central bank is turning his attention to some IT technicians from the bank that he suspects hooked up its transactions system to the public Internet, giving hacker’s access.

No suspects in the Bangladesh central bank had been arrested, Alam said, because investigations were incomplete. They were under watch and their movements monitored, but he was awaiting “specific information” on any communications they may have had with the hackers or with those who received the funds. Help has been sought from police in the Philippines, Japan, Sri Lanka and China, countries where the hackers are believed to have links, he said.

Nearly 11 months since the heist, there’s no sign if any of the six investigating agencies involved are close to cracking the case. In a series of interviews this month, Mohammad Shah Alam, a Bangladesh police deputy inspector general who is heading investigations in Dhaka, went into some detail about how insiders at Bangladesh Bank may have helped in the execution of one of the world’s biggest cyber-heists last February. For instance, Alam said he was focusing on why a password token protecting the SWIFT international transactions network at Bangladesh Bank was left inserted in the SWIFT server for months leading up to the heist. It is supposed to be removed and locked in a secure vault after business hours each day. The failure to remove the token allowed hackers to enter the system when it was not being monitored, first to infect it with malware and then to issue fake transfer orders, he said.

Alam’s comments follow months of assertions by Bangladesh authorities that central bank officials were guilty of nothing more than negligence in the heist, in which hackers moved money out of the bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and sent it to individual accounts in the Philippines. Reuters could not independently confirm Alam’s claims. He declined to name any of the suspects. No one has been arrested and Alam did not provide any further evidence to back up his assertions. Bangladesh Bank spokesman Subhankar Saha declined comment on the investigation. He said the bank has not been told of any plans to detain any of its employees. The FBI, among the agencies involved, had no comment on Alam’s claims. Interpol was not available for comment. A spokeswoman for SWIFT declined to comment. Nearly 11 months since the audacious robbery that undermined confidence in the global SWIFT transactions system and sent tremors through the global financial community, there is no sign if any of the half-a-dozen investigating agencies involved are close to cracking the case.

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