As the world becomes increasingly digital, the threat of ransomware attacks is growing exponentially. Banks in Bangladesh are no exception, and they must take proactive steps to protect themselves from these cyber threats. One of the most effective ways to do this is by investing in cybersecurity training.

Bangladesh Bank issued a letter on dated February 24, 2020 (সূত্র নং- আইএসডিএসডি/ইমারজেন্সি-রেসপন্স/১৪(০৩)/২০২০-৩৮১) to the Managing Directors/Chief Executive Officers of all banks highlighting the need for specialized training in the areas of vulnerability assessment/penetration testing, malware analysis, digital forensics, threat intelligence, and OSINT.

Ransomware attacks occur when a cybercriminal encrypts the victim’s data, rendering it inaccessible, and then demands payment in exchange for a decryption key. These attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and cybercriminals are targeting organizations of all sizes and industries, including banks.

In Bangladesh, where the financial sector is a significant contributor to the country’s economy, banks face a significant risk of ransomware attacks. A successful attack can lead to the loss of sensitive customer data, reputational damage, and financial losses.

On January 14, 2020, the ICT Division reviewed the issues related to cyber security of financial institutions with the ICT Affairs Advisor to the Hon’ble Prime Minister. The Digital Security Agency (DSA), ICT Division, Information & Communication Technology Division, issued a letter to The Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Bangladesh Secretariat on dated 22/01/2020, (স্মারক নংঃ ৫৬.০৫.০০০০.০০২.৩৫.০০১.১৯-১৫৬). Based on the meeting the banking sector has been identified as one of the most critical information infrastructures in Bangladesh, and it is essential to take necessary measures to implement the specialized training and certification (vulnerability assessment/penetration testing (VA/PT), malware analysis, digital forensics, threat intelligence, and OSINT) of technical and economic domain officers in these critical areas to ensure cybersecurity.

However, many banks have yet to implement these suggested training measures. This is a cause for concern as it leaves the banking sector vulnerable to cyberattacks.

The risks of cyberattacks are not just limited to financial losses for banks and their customers. They can also result in reputational damage, loss of confidential information, and disruption to critical services. The impact of a cyberattack can be felt across the entire economy and can lead to a loss of confidence in the banking system as a whole.

Given the importance of cybersecurity in the banking sector, it is essential that banks take the necessary steps to ensure that their officers are adequately trained in this area. This will require a significant investment of time and resources, but the cost of not doing so could be far greater.

In addition to providing training for officers, banks should also prioritize other measures to improve their cybersecurity. This includes regularly updating their security systems, conducting regular risk assessments, and implementing strict access controls.

The Bangladesh Bank’s letter serves as a wake-up call for the banking sector in Bangladesh. It highlights the need for banks to take cybersecurity seriously and to invest in the necessary training and infrastructure to protect themselves and their customers from cyber threats. Failure to do so could have serious consequences for the banking sector and the wider economy.

To combat the threat of ransomware attacks, banks in Bangladesh must invest in cybersecurity training. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Understanding the threat landscape: Cybersecurity training helps banks understand the latest threats and attack techniques used by cybercriminals. This knowledge enables banks to take proactive measures to protect their systems and data.

  2. Strengthening cybersecurity defenses: Cybersecurity training equips banks with the skills and knowledge necessary to strengthen their cybersecurity defenses. They can implement best practices such as regular software updates, strong access controls, and cybersecurity audits.

  3. Improving incident response capabilities: In the event of a ransomware attack, banks need to respond quickly to minimize the damage. Cybersecurity training prepares bank employees to recognize and respond to a ransomware attack effectively.

  4. Enhancing cybersecurity culture: Investing in cybersecurity training creates a culture of security within the organization. When employees understand the risks and the importance of cybersecurity, they are more likely to adhere to best practices and report potential threats.

The Importance of Specialized Cybersecurity Training for Banks:

The Bangladesh Bank, recognizing the importance of cybersecurity, has issued guidelines for banks to conduct specialized training programs for their officers in vulnerability assessment/penetration testing (VA/PT), malware analysis, digital forensics, threat intelligence, and open source intelligence (OSINT).

  1. Vulnerability assessment and penetration testing (VA/PT): is an essential tool for identifying vulnerabilities in a bank’s computer systems and networks. It helps to identify potential security weaknesses and enables the bank to take corrective action before a cyber attacker can exploit those weaknesses. Banks must have the ability to detect, analyze and respond to malware attacks as soon as possible. Specialized training in malware analysis helps bank officers to do this effectively.

  2. Digital forensics: involves the use of techniques to investigate and analyze computer systems and networks in the event of a cyberattack. This can help banks to understand how the attack was carried out, who was responsible, and the extent of the damage caused. It is an essential tool for law enforcement agencies to investigate cybercrimes and bring the perpetrators to justice.

  3. Threat intelligence: is the process of gathering, analyzing, and disseminating information about cyber threats. It enables banks to identify potential threats before they can cause damage and take action to prevent them.

  4. OSINT: is an important part of threat intelligence, which involves gathering information from publicly available sources. This information can be used to understand the tactics and techniques used by cyber attackers and to develop effective countermeasures.

  5. Malware Analysis: In this training, participants will learn how to identify and analyze different types of malware, including viruses, worms, Trojans, and rootkits. They will also learn how to use various tools and techniques, such as reverse engineering and dynamic analysis, to understand how malware operates and how to prevent it from affecting their organization.

The importance of specialized cybersecurity training for banks cannot be overstated. The banking sector is a critical information infrastructure, and cyberattacks on banks can have far-reaching consequences. Cybersecurity breaches can result in loss of customer trust, regulatory fines, and legal liabilities. They can also have serious consequences for the economy as a whole.

Training bank officers in cybersecurity is a key part of an effective cybersecurity strategy. Banks must ensure that their officers have the necessary skills and knowledge to identify, prevent, and respond to cyber threats. Investing in specialized training programs for VA/PT, malware analysis, digital forensics, threat intelligence, and OSINT is a crucial step in protecting banks from cyber threats.

In conclusion, ransomware attacks pose a significant threat to banks in Bangladesh, and as such, it is crucial that banks invest in training their employees to identify, respond to, investigate, and prevent these attacks specialized cybersecurity training programs for banks are of utmost importance. The Bangladesh Bank’s guidelines for banks to conduct specialized training programs for their officers in Advanced VA/PT, malware analysis, digital forensics, threat intelligence, ransomware attack and investigation and OSINT are a step in the right direction. Banks must take these guidelines seriously and invest in the necessary training and infrastructure to protect themselves and their customers from cyber threats. Failure to do so can have serious consequences for the banking sector and the wider economy.