Sonali Bank loses millions to hackers


The Sonali Bank has incurred a loss of Tk 20 million last year after hackers breached its vulnerable “password and risk management system”.
“The bank lost $250, 000 due to the hacking of one of its accounts’ password last year,” said M Aslam Alam, Secretary of the Bank and Financial Institutions Division.
“This means there has been huge flaws in the management of passwords of the bank’s accounts and there has been no risk management,” he said.
Finance Minister MA Muhith, who was also present during the revelation, too expressed dissatisfaction over the bank’s security system.
The state-owned commercial bank lost Tk 164 million due to a burglary in Kishoreganj. RAB later in Jan recovered almost the entire looted amount.
In Nov 2012, it had come under fire for lending Tk 25 billion to an upstart company, Hall Mark Ltd, as it was considered almost impossible to recover the money.
Dwelling on the security lapses, Aslam referred Kishoreganj burglary incident and pointed out that nobody had even thought of it.
He further stated that during the mayhem unleashed by the Hifazat-e Islam, several people stormed into the bank, but there was no video footage of it.
He advised all-round security for the bank, including strengthening its online system to save the bank from such a threat.
To protect the bank from any such future risk, he suggested overhauling of the bank’s security, including its online security system.
Speaking about the bank’s security risks, Muhith said, “The bank’s internal management system has to be strengthened to restore people’s trust on it.”
“The bank is yet to fully recover from the setback it suffered in 2012 after the Hall mark incident. That incident too was primarily the result of weaknesses of its internal management system.”
Pointing out that the banking sector is now expanding, he advised the banks to strengthen their bases and to provide quality services.
Sonali Bank’s Managing Director Pradip Kumar Dutta presented its financial accounts at the conference. The bank’s Chairman AHM Habibur Rahman was in the chair.
The bank recovered Tk 51.6 billion from loan defaulters in 2013. To continue the process, the Year 2014 has been declared as ‘Business Improvement and Default- Loan Recovery Year’, he said.
Aslam advised the bank to change its mode of business and to lend more to small and medium entrepreneurs.
“This is because the bank is not growing by lending big entrepreneurs. Rather, its loan defaults are increasing gradually.”
The bank’s loans and advances in 2012 were Tk 380 billion which came down to 340 billion in 2013, a fall of 40 billion from the previous year.
Its operational profit in 2012 was Tk 11 billion, which came down to Tk 3.3 billion in 2013, a negative growth of Tk 7.73 billion.