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Cyber heist risk too high

Published : 02 Apr 2021 10:18 PM | Updated : 05 Apr 2021 11:52 AM

Over 200 government and private organisations, including financial institutions, of the country came under a severe cyber attack on Wednesday. 

Tarique M Barkatullah, Project Director of BGD e-GOV CIRT, the government’s organisation for cyber attack response, confirmed the information to Bangladesh Post on Friday.

 “We’ve published a report after reviewing the data on Thursday. It found that the organisations in the country which use Windows operating systems, especially Microsoft Exchange, were attacked by hackers,” he said.

According to BGD e-GOV CIRT report, some IP addresses have been found that are at risk of attack.  “These include Agni Systems Limited, Bangla Trac Communications, Bangladesh Bank, BTRC, Standard Bank, Trust Bank, Bank Asia, etc.”

The report of the CIRT (Computer Incident Response Team) said the cyber attack was carried out by a group of hackers called Hafnium.

Gas Transmission Company Limited, LankaBangla, Apollo Hospital and Square Hospital are also among the attack targets.

Barkatullah, also the Director of National Datacenter at Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC), said the hackers might have access a large number email accounts of the organisation they attacked. 

“Hackers might have stolen and can still steal confidential information contained in emails,” he said adding that they may blackmail the organisations in the future.

Several organisations targeted by the attackers, however, said the hackers could not steal their information as they were well prepared after the CIRT had warned them in February against possible attacks.

“We were alerted by CIRT in February to possible attacks. And we took all necessary measures to ward off any attacks,” said Bangladesh Bank spokesperson Md Serajul Islam.

Barkatullah said CIRT has detailed in the report how the infection has spread.

He said they have given strategies on how to remove or clean the virus from email. “There is nothing to worry about,” he, however, said.

According to Barkatullah, millions of servers in different countries of the world, including those in Europe and America, were attacked by the hacking virus.

“Then we went to do our research and found that they had attacked 200 organisations. The list of targets includes government, private banks, financial and service organisations,” he added.

For combating the cyber attack, BGD e-GOV CIRT has suggested that the target organisations examine their systems for the TTPs and use the IOCs to detect any malicious activity. 

“If an organisation discovers exploitation activity, they should assume network identity compromise and follow incident-response procedures,” he said adding that if an organisation finds no activity, they should apply available patches immediately and implement mitigations.