‘Ignoring cybersecurity will lead to downfall’
Investment in cybersecurity is very much essential and banks which are not investing in their digital operations and cyber security will totally go out of business within the next three or four years, said Selim RF Hussain, chairman of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh (ABB).
Banks will have to invent digital services for their customers and at the same time they must invest in cyber security to safeguard against hacking attempts, he said in an interview with The Daily Star on Saturday.
Hussain, also managing director of Brac Bank, said the banking sector needs new manpower in the form of IT experts and new software to tackle the cyberthreats.
The existing manpower of banks will have to be trained and banks will have to take initiatives to raise awareness among them, he said.
Mentioning that Brac Bank was active in safeguarding against cyberattacks, he said his bank has a 25-member ethical hacker team who were always working to protect the bank from cyberthreats.
"We also have a security operation centre and every year we are checking our IT systems through different international vendors," said Hussain.
Brac Bank regularly audits and inspects its information and technology system, he added.
Banks will have to think about their cybersecurity and it would not be wise to think only about their business, as per Hussain.
The ABB chairman said consumer behaviour has changed significantly in the last three to four years and as a result, the majority of banks started laying emphasis on their digital presence.
"We have to learn from the biggest cyberattack on the Bangladesh Bank IT system, when malware entered the system," he said.
Hackers had stolen $101 million from BB's accounts with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on February 5, 2016 by hacking the central bank IT system.
"The ABB arranged an international cybersecurity summit for the first time in June last year and we hired a good number of cybersecurity experts," said Hussain.
Local banks substantially benefitted from the two-day summit and discussed what could be done to combat the risks. "We arranged the same summit in April this year," he added.
The central bank recently passed a dozen instructions for banks, non-bank financial institutions and other payment gateways to implement to prepare against the threats of small to medium-scale cyberattacks.
Prior to that, the government's Computer Incident Response Team (BGD e-GOV CIRT) issued an alert saying several hacktivist groups had threatened targeting critical infrastructures of the country.