Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Cyber criminals hack Capital bank

Information has emerged showing how Capital Bank Botswana fell victim to an international hacking ring.

Cyber criminals attempted to steal up to US$315,000 (about P3.5 million) from the commercial bank but only managed to get away with $12,000 (about P135 000).

At the time when the incident occurred in 2017, details were cagey as officials at the bank could not be drawn into discussing the matter.

Local media reports indicated that at the time hackers tried to compromise the bank’s swift account by using malware (malicious software) downloaded from an internal email.

Swift is an acronym for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication that provides a network that enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information on financial transactions.

Capital Bank managing director, Jaco Viljoen, at time was quoted as saying that there was an attempted hacking but said there were no losses for the bank or customers.

“I’m unfortunately not able to provide any detail in line with our confidentiality policies. All I can confirm is that we managed to prevent the attack as a result of the IT (information technology) security we have in place,” he reportedly said.

Despite Viljoen’s denial at the time that the bank did not lose any money, details are beginning to emerge that the bank lost some funds to the international hackers as a Court in Singapore heard that On Jan 18, 2017, Singapore’s Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) received a call from the financial institution’s chief executive (it is not clear if Viljoen was the chief executive officer at the time), who said his bank’s system had been hacked by unknown persons and that US$315,000 (S$445,500) had been transferred into one of the bank accounts of the scammers.

The woman behind the scam had been identified as Annee Foong, now 48. She had managed to transfer around $12,000 (P135 000) out of the amount from the Capital Bank account but was unable to withdraw the remaining sum. The Court was told this was because staff at Capital Bank managed to identify the suspicious transaction and blocked it. The CAD later seized the remaining amount from the account.

A secretary in a law firm in Singapore, Foong reportedly opened multiple bank accounts after befriending a man online, and the accounts were later used to receive over $1 million in proceeds from criminal activities.

She reportedly continued to help her friend this way even when the police repeatedly told her to stop and that she was the subject of an investigation.

She reportedly pleaded guilty to seven counts of allowing bank accounts belonging to her and her daughter to receive millions of money in ill-gotten gains.

Immediate comment from the bank was not available.


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