POST TIME: 9 November, 2019 12:47:34 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 17 November, 2019 03:28:52 PM
US ready to help Bangladesh fight cybercrime
North Korean hackers threat to cybersecurity
DEEPAK ACHARJEE, back from Washington DC and Seoul

US ready to help Bangladesh fight cybercrime

The US government is ready to provide support to Bangladeshi organisations, including the country’s central bank, to help them fight cyber attacks on all fronts. “Like other South Asian Countries, Bangladesh is also facing cyber threats, though the authorities concerned of the country, especially the Bangladesh Bank, have taken steps in this regard.

Currently, at least 1,700 North Korean hackers are active online to steal funds from financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges to generate income, according to sources. The US official said North Korean hackers had stolen at least USD 1.1 billion in a series of attacks on global banks in the last four years, among which USD 81 million was taken from the Bangladesh central bank in February 2016.

The Bangladesh government has alerted the authorities concerned following the recent cyber attack at India's largest nuclear power plant—Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant—through a version of the ‘DTrack RAT’ virus that infected the plant’s administrative systems.  The malware appears to be connected to the Lazarus group, a North Korea-backed cybercrime organisation, which was identified by the US Department of Justice.

There are over 1,000 North Korean citizens, mostly as construction workers and IT engineers, working in Bangladesh at present.

When contacted, the state minister for information and communication technology, Zunaid Ahmed Palak, told The Independent that they have established a ‘Computer Incident Response Team’ (CIRT) under the Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) for taking necessary measures to improve Bangladesh’s capacity to manage the risks related to the digital revolution and deal with fast-growing cybercrime.

“The CIRT is monitoring the network for events that could affect the security of the National Data Centre (NDC) or services deployed in the NDC facilities. It would carry out preventive measures to minimise any disruptions and coordinate incident response,” he noted.

“At the same time, we are also communicating with international organisations to put  a cyber security system in place,” Palak added.

When asked about the North Korean citizens working in Bangladesh as IT professionals, the state minister said law enforcement and intelligence agencies were working on the matter.  Palak also said they have already asked the authorities concerned of the financial sector to establish their own computer incident response teams to protect the sector from cyber attackers.

The South Korean officials said they were also under the threat of cyber attacks from North Korean hackers.  “Such hackers have tried to hack the websites of different organisation on several occasions,” They said .

According to a UN report, UN experts are investigating at least 35 instances in 17 countries of North Koreans performing cyber attacks to illegally raise money for weapons of mass destruction programs. They are calling for sanctions against ships providing gasoline and diesel to the country.

The report mentions that such cases have been reported from Bangladesh, Chile, Costa Rica, Gambia, Guatemala, India, Kuwait, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Nigeria, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, South Africa, Tunisia, and Vietnam.