Hacked and Back

On recognizing that they had been the victim of a phishing attack, the Union Bank of India didn't waste any time before trying to track down the attackers and reclaim their stolen money. Chairman and managing director Arun Tiwari recalled "It was around 10.30am when I was informed that an unidentified hacker was attempting to swindle us of $171 million (about Rs1,100 crore at today's rates) from our Nostro account" and "The thing uppermost in my mind was that I had to quickly get onto the money trail and recover the money.

Working quickly to inform key stakeholders, actions were also taken to ensure sufficient resources were available to track down what had happened.  Said Tiwari of Union Bank Bhavan, "a whole floor on that building was to be cordoned off, and that all staff members working to solve this problem would only leave after the matter was resolved."

Such quick action, and the support of other interested parties, assisted in the identification of the source (a phishing attack), identification of discrepancies in reconciliation reports, and performance of detailed network forensics, all helping them to trace the movement of the funds.

Despite their success in recovering funds, Tiwari recognizes that future hacks may still occur: "We have put the best IT guys on the jobs and even a CISO, but the fact is that however many locks you put on the door, a burglary can still take place. The point is to remain alert and put measures in place, which we have done already."