Banks have to invest a lot in cyber security and remain vigilant to keep hackers at bay, said Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir today while speaking as chief guest at the first ever cyber security summit in the country’s banking sector.
The BB governor pointed out that technology comes with risks and challenges.
“There are organised fraudsters lurking out there who keep trying to break into the bank’s infrastructure,” he said, adding, “Banks have to invest a lot in cyber security and remain vigilant to keep hackers at bay. Integrated cyber security has become essential.”
He also noted that technology has become so ubiquitous that it has become an important part of people’s daily lives, adding that cyber security in banks is a business enabler and a priority.
The Association of Bankers, Bangladesh (ABB) has organised the two-day summit titled “Building Cyber Resilience for Banks” to make bankers cyber conscious and more prepared for the future.
The central bank governor lauded the efficiency of digital banking during the coronavirus pandemic, and how it helped put the economy back on the wheels.
About the summit, he said all the officials present at the event can work together to combat threats against cyber security efficiently.
On 5 February 2016, hackers broke into the Bangladesh Bank’s system to attempt a daring billion-dollar heist. They ultimately made off with $81 million and the heist became known as “The Lazarus” heist – the most audacious cyber-attack ever attempted.
Two years later, the FBI traced the heist back to a group of North Korean hackers who went by the name of The Lazarus Group.
According to a BBC report, the Bangladesh Bank hack was a project that took years of planning and methodical preparation by a team of hackers trained under the direct patronage of the government of North Korea and middlemen across Asia.
The governor expressed his hope that the participants will be able to apply the skills and governance gained at the summit at work and can help their organisations become cyber ready.
“To significantly benefit the industry, I urge the participants to share the knowledge with others of the banking fraternity,” he said.
“We must embrace technology with all proper safeguards. The goal is to ensure full-proof security,” he remarked.
The governor also said the country’s foreign exchange reserves are still in a standard level.
“The reserves stand at $41.7 billion, which is good enough to settle import bills for more than five and a half months. Import payments of the country stood at on average 7.5 billion in the last 10-11 months. It is the standard level for any country to keep reserves to settle import bills for at least three months. So, we are still in a comfort zone,” he said.
Fazle Kabir said the country has been facing foreign exchange pressure for the last couple of months due to soaring import payments stemmed from the global supply chain disruption.
ABB Chairman Selim RF Hussain also spoke at the event. He said, “As cybercrime is increasing in this age of digital banking, we must prepare ourselves to tackle the risk. With the magnitude of threats, we think stronger collective response and knowledge-sharing is essential to face the threat. We hope we will return to our workplaces with ample wisdom on cyber security and prepare ourselves for the future after this two-day summit.”
He thanked the Bangladesh Bank and government agencies for their continuous policy support and guidance in tackling the cyber crisis.
Bangladesh Bank Executive Director Debdulal Roy, ABB Vice-Chairman and Sonali Bank MD and CEO Md Ataur Rahman Prodhan, ABB Vice-Chairman and EXIM Bank MD and CEO Mohammed Haider Ali Miah, and ABB Secretary-General and Standard Bank MD and CEO Khondoker Rashed Maqsood were also present at the event.
More than 200 participants from the banking industry including MDs and CEOs, COOs, CTOs, CIOs and CISOs are participating in the summit.