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U.S. suspects NKorea in $81M Bangladesh theft

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Getty Images              The heist from the New York Fed occurred in February 2016

Federal prosecutors are reportedly mounting a case that could implicate North Korea in the massive bank heist previous year in which hackers stole $81 million from Bangladesh Bank's account at the Federal Reserve Bank of NY.

To carry out the theft, the attackers, used the global payment messaging system, Swift, to persuade the Federal Reserve Bank of NY transfer funds from the Bangladesh bank to accounts in the Philippines.

The branch of the US central bank rejected most of the requests but filled some of them, resulting in $81 million disappearing into casinos and other entities in the Philippines.

The Philippines returned $15 million of the stolen funds after a court declared Bangladesh was the rightful owner of the money in November 2016.

Thus, the USA government appears to have evidence - and likely, classified intelligence - that ties the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the Bangladesh Bank heist.

After the theft, The Foreign Policy said, security firms quickly pointed the finger at North Korea.

"If that linkage is true, that means a nation-state is robbing banks".

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Security officials have expressed concern that the heist could represent a new level of strength in cyberwarfare.

Researchers at the security firm Symantec previously had linked the theft to a series of cyber-attacks on the United States financial system and the 2014 hacking of Sony Pictures.

NORTH Korea's despotic leader and his cronies are being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation over claims they were involved in a $1 BILLION bank scam. "That is a big deal; it's different", he said on Tuesday during a panel discussion at the Aspen Institute.

"The whole security community has said that the attack tools and techniques used in Sony are the same ones used in Bangladesh", said Eric Chien, an engineer with security vendor Symantec Corp.

The high-level probe follows revelations more than £75m has gone missing from the Bangladesh Bank's own bank account.

A spokesman for the European Commission told Reuters that despite increasing pressure on North Korea over the country's nuclear program and missile tests, the move to block the nation's banks "is a commercial matter for SWIFT", adding that European officials "do not interfere in the business decisions of any such company".

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