No Reason To Panic About Hacking Threats: NRB

Responding to the hacking threats sent to the commercial banks on Wednesday and to the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) itself on Thursday, the banking sector regulator said that there were few reasons to worry about the threat since the Information Technology (IT) infrastructure is strong enough to check the intrusion.
The central bank, Nepal Clearing House Limited and all banks use high-standard software and international standard firewall to keep them safe from cyber attack, said Spokesperson of the NRB, Dev Kumar Dhakal. “Although there are always chances to misuse the safety loopholes by the hackers and thieves, Nepali banking system is safe.”
However, he maintained that additional caution should be maintained by the banks and financial institutions (BFIs).
The central bank said that the hoax was purported to create panic among the bankers and customers.
President of the Nepal Bankers Association (NBA), Bhuwan Dahal, said that even a short SMS is enough to create fear and panic in the system while this time the threat mentioned the names of about 15 commercial banks and the NRB.
Many banks which received the message the other day were concerned about the threat and were discussing among themselves the possible counter-measures and approaching the central bank for further support. But another message that landed on Thursday morning saying that the NRB, Nabil Bank and Nepal Bank Limited were hacked created much panic in the sector.
According to Dahal, the BFIs have made reasonable investment in the cyber security infrastructure and measures but it was natural to panic when there are series of threating messages.
This necessitatedimmediate action from the banks and the regulator as well. Entire IT system of the NRB and banks was inspected, it was not compromised, said Dhakal.
What had happened?
On Wednesday afternoon around 3:30 PM, the unknown hacker sent a mail mentioning the names of 15 commercial banks and threatened to steal money from those banks via both online and offline means. The hacker had given a 24-hour period to the banks.
The banks mentioned by the hacker include NRB, and Nepal Bank, Nabil Bank, Rastriya Banijya Bank, Machhapuchchhre Bank, NMB Bank, NIC Asia Bank, Bank of Kathmandu, Citizens International Bank, Sanima Bank, Nepal SBI Bank, Everest Bank, Nepal Investment Bank and Himalayan Bank.
When the bankers received the mail, they circulated the news among themselves via social media networks like Viber and later resorted to the central bank.
According to Dhakal, the NRB had immediately made an audit of the IT system and found no intrusion. There was not even an attempt of one.
However, the phone call in the morning on Thursday scared the bankers and the regulators for a while.
The banks have suspected the mails might have been sent from countries like Russia or Canada. They have also asked the Standard Chartered Bank, a multinational bank, to help out of the matter.
Banks have applied additional caution, Dahal said.

Source : TRN,