Sri Lanka arrests 2 men over Taiwan bank hacking

(Thomas Samson, AFP)
(Thomas Samson, AFP)

Colombo - Sri Lankan police have arrested two men for allegedly helping international criminals who hacked into computers at a Taiwan bank and stole millions of dollars, says an official.

The pair were arrested after they tried to withdraw large sums of money that had been wired to their accounts with a Sri Lankan bank branch in the capital Colombo, the official said.

Tens of millions of dollars

The police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) was working closely with Taiwan counterparts to track down the hackers, who are said to have breached the Taiwan bank's computers last week.

"We are looking at about $1.3 million that had come into three accounts in Sri Lanka," said the official.

"We have taken two people into custody and we are looking for one more person".

Police in Sri Lanka did not disclose the name of the affected bank in Taiwan or the sum said to have been stolen, but a Sri Lankan media report said tens of millions of dollars had been wired out of the island.

In Taipei the Financial Regulatory Commission confirmed that the local Far Eastern International Bank's Swift system had been hacked through a computer virus but gave no details.

Computer system

Taiwanese media quoted the bank as saying that it detected irregularities in its Swift system and suspicious transactions involving Sri Lanka, Cambodia and the United States started on Thursday.

However, Taiwan police have recovered most of the money with the help of counterparts in other countries, the reports said.

Sri Lankan police investigated a similar theft in February last year when hackers broke into the computer system of the Bangladesh central bank and transferred $20m of stolen money to a Sri Lankan businesswoman.

The money was recovered and a court investigation is pending. 

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

News24 (@News24) | Twitter

The latest Tweets from News24 (@News24). News24 is Southern Africa and Africa's premier online news resource reaching over 2.3 million local users each month. South Africa

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Would you choose to continue working from home after the coronavirus lockdown if given the option?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, it's much better for me
40% - 7879 votes
No ways! I can't wait to get back to the office
12% - 2292 votes
A mixture of both would suit me best
48% - 9555 votes
Vote
USD/ZAR
14.21
(-0.0)
GBP/ZAR
19.52
(-0.0)
EUR/ZAR
17.00
(+0.3)
AUD/ZAR
10.99
(+0.1)
JPY/ZAR
0.13
(+0.2)
Gold
1,765.34
(+0.1)
Silver
25.89
(+0.2)
Platinum
1,201.51
(+0.4)
Brent Crude
66.94
(+0.5)
Palladium
2,748.43
(+0.1)
All Share
67,961
(+0.2)
Top 40
62,225
(+0.2)
Financial 15
12,317
(-0.2)
Industrial 25
88,899
(+0.3)
Resource 10
69,051
(+0.3)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo