Bangladesh police are reviewing a nearly forgotten 2013 cyber heist at the nation's largest commercial bank for connections to February's $81 million heist at the country's central bank, a senior law enforcement official said on Wednesday.
The unsolved theft of $250,000 at Sonali Bank involved fraudulent transfer requests sent over the SWIFT international payments network. It is not widely known outside of Bangladesh, and in fact was treated as a cold case until Bangladesh police revived the investigation after thieves in February also used the SWIFT network to steal $81 million from Bangladesh Bank.
Sonali Bank said it had informed SWIFT about the 2013 heist at the time and also unsuccessfully tried to recover the money from the recipients in Turkey, said one bank source.
Thieves in the 2013 robbery used tactics similar to those used by the yet-to-be-identified criminals in the Bangladesh Bank heist--using the SWIFT money-transfer system to divert bank funds, said a senior bank official.
Authorities are now reviewing the case to see if there are any links that can help them track down the criminals behind the Bangladesh Bank heist.
At Sonali Bank, hackers installed key-logger software on a computer to gain passwords to other systems, then sent fraudulent transfer requests over SWIFT, said the senior bank official who is part of its IT operations.