RBI says had issued warnings on possible misuse of SWIFT system

Cyber Attack On City Union Bank's SWIFT System

India's City Union Bank said on Sunday that "cyber criminals" had hacked its systems and transferred almost $2 million through three unauthorised remittances to lenders overseas via the SWIFT financial platform.

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.

It was discovered during the bank's reconciliation process on Feb.7 that three fraudulent transactions were initiated by cyber criminals who gained access into the bank's system illegally. We immediately alerted the correspondent banks to recall the funds.

City Union said on Saturday it had been able to block one of the remittances, totalling $500,000, that was being sent through a Standard Chartered Bank account in NY to a Dubai-based lender. The second remittance was made through Standard Chartered Bank, Frankfurt to a Turkey based bank for Euro 300,000.

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"Nobody suspected that it was an attack and thought it was a systemic network failure", City's CEO N. Kamakodi has told Reuters.

The unknown hackers disabled the City printer connected to global payments platform SWIFT on February 6, preventing the bank from receiving acknowledgement messages for three fraudulent payment instruction sent that evening until the next morning. The hackers stole the money from Bangladesh Bank's account at the Federal Reserve Bank of NY using fraudulent orders on SWIFT.

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 had claimed the funds by submitting forged documents. The beneficiary in the third case was identified as Zhejiang Rural Credit Cooperative Union in Hangzhou, China.

In 2016, the hacker stole money from Bangladesh's central bank's account at the Federal Reserve Bank of NY using fraudulent orders on SWIFT. With the help of Ministry of External Affairs through the Consulate General of Shanghai and Istanbul and office of the National Cyber Security Council (PMO) all possible efforts through diplomatic and legal channels are being taken to repatriate the money.

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