Using Custom Malware, Hackers Rob $60M from Taiwanese Bank

Just last month, a team of hackers infiltrated the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) network of an international bank to steal approximately $60 million.

The hackers broke into the banking network and installed malware on the Taiwanese bank’s system to manipulate the wiring of the millions of dollars.

Confirming they were hacked, the Far Eastern International Bank admitted to having their computer systems and servers – along with their SWIFT terminal – infected by the said malware.

SWIFT is used to securely transfer money across banks all over the world, and it is for this reason hackers have repeatedly targeted the network over the last couple of years.

$57 million was wired to Cambodia, $1.6M to Sri Lanka, and $1M to the United States.

Before this recent hacking of the Far Eastern International Bank, almost a billion dollars were stolen from a Bangladeshi bank early last year.

Authorities said that the hacking of the Taiwanese bank’s account led to the distribution of the cash to different accounts based all over the world; the United States, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka, specifically.

Sherri Chuang, the Far Eastern International Bank’s deputy director, said they were fortunate enough to recover the stolen fortune – of which $57 million was sent to Cambodia, $1.6 million to Sri Lanka, and $1 million to the U.S.

For their part, SWIFT’s system updates in response to the previous attacks aided in tracking down the unusual behavior in the network; leading to the recovery of all but half a million dollars of the stolen money.

Sources familiar with the case also reported that the suspects responsible for the hacking were already arrested in Sri Lanka.

One of the people arrested was Shalila Moonesinghe, a chairman of Litro Gas – a state-run importer and supplier of liquefied petroleum gas – after the $1.6 million stolen from Taiwan was traced to his personal bank account.

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