Cyber attack similar to Bangladesh central bank hack

Rupee pushed to three month low

CYBERCRIMINALS have transferred US$2 million from India's City Union Bank through three unauthorized remittances to lenders based overseas via the SWIFT financial platform, the institution revealed over the weekend.

Once again we wish to inform that it is not similar to the fraud that happened in one of the largest public sector banks and that there is no evidence of staff involvement as speculated by a section of the press. Since our reconciliation system was very tight we could catch the attack in three attempts.

The City Union Bank clarified that the modus operandi of this incident is not related to the multibillion dollar fraud allegedly committed by diamond merchant Nirav Modi against the Punjab National Bank. "This is basically a cyberattack by worldwide cyber criminals", he said, Reuters reported on Feb.19.

City Union, a small private lender based in south India, said the three money transfer instructions were sent via correspondent banks to accounts in Dubai, Turkey and China.

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A second transfer of 300,000 euros ($372,150) was routed through a Standard Chartered Bank account in Frankfurt to a Turkish account, although the Turkish lender had blocked the transfer from being finalised.

However, a third transfer of $1m sent via a Bank of America account in NY to Zhejiang Rural Credit Cooperative Union in Hangzhou, China, appears to have succeeded. The beneficiary claimed the funds by submitting forged documents.

The Reserve Bank of India said on Tuesday it had alerted banks of possible misuse of the SWIFT system on at least three occasions since August 2016. The Bank says it was "blocked immediately", perhaps by a scanning service which SWIFT launched in March 2016 as part of its new Customer Security Program (CSP) following the $81 million heist at the Bangladesh Bank. According to experts on banking security, Indian banks that depend on the messaging platform SWIFT are required to be more cautious, reported Reuters. The Indian Consulate in Instanbul is now working to help repatriate that amount.

The bank, with the help of Ministry of External Affairs, Consulate General of Shanghai and Istanbul, is making all diplomatic and legal efforts to repatriate the money, it mentioned in its filing.

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