KATHMANDU, Oct 24: NIC Asia Bank Ltd has claimed that it was less likely to lose money from the recent cyber attack against it, stating that all international banks where it maintains accounts have been requested to stop processing payment instructions made on the day of hacking.
Though the commercial bank is still reluctant to disclose the exact amount instructed on that day for payments using SWIFT system, its officials claim that the financial damage would not be significant. “Almost all payment instructions have been cancelled by the respective international banks on the basis of our request made immediately after we noticed suspicious intrusions into our SWIFT server,” Roshan Kumar Neupane, an assistant CEO of NIC Asia Bank, told Republica.
He, however, did not disclose the number of payment instructions made through the SWIFT system last Wednesday when the commercial bank became victim of the cyber attack. Nor could he furnish the amount that had already been processed by those international banks following the payment instructions or the amount already stolen by hackers.
Unknown hackers reportedly broke into the SWIFT system of NIC Asia Bank last Wednesday and made payment instructions to some international banks where NIC Asia has its accounts.
SWIFT, or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, provides messaging services to bank and financial institutions (BFIs) around the world which help them to facilitate international transactions and transfer of payments.
While it has not been clear yet how the hackers managed to break into the server of SWIFT system to make the fake payment instructions, cyber security analysts suspect that the lapse in information technology (IT) or the operational system could have helped the hackers to get access into the system and make payment instructions electronically posing as authorized bank representatives.
“Since the old SWIFT server has been taken down, we cannot give you the exact payment figures,” said Neupane. “However, the amount is not huge because we do not park large amount of money in our international banks accounts,” he added.
NIC Asia Bank Ltd has also commissioned a forensic investigation by a team of KPMG, a global firm providing audit, tax and advisory services which has already started to look into the case.
According to Neupane, the KPMG is expected to provide 'a clearer picture' in a day or two, while the full report is expected within a week.