Azerbaijani Banks Are Vulnerable to Cyberattacks

Azerbaijani law enforcement agencies have arrested a group of people suspected of cybercrimes, according to a statement published 1 August by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA).

The suspects are accused of illegally obtaining the bank cards of foreigners and using them to ‘make online payments on the territory of Azerbaijan, to transfer large amounts of money to various accounts, and to attempt to steal from citizens’ bank accounts.’

In a recent interview, lawyer and banking expert Akram Hasanov warned of the threat of cyberattacks. ‘Unfortunately, the banking sphere is susceptible to cyber threats throughout the world. Considering the sorry state of the banking sector in our country, it is essential that the government pass a number of regulations providing cybersecurity.’

According to Hasanov, one of the problems in providing cybersecurity is the cost. ‘After the devaluation of the national currency, Azerbaijan’s banks faced enormous difficulties, many were even forced to close due to bankruptcy. Virtually all the financial institutions have problems today. Consequently, few of them can afford to acquire expensive security systems requiring constant upgrading,’ he explained.

As a result, the security at Azerbaijan’s financial institutions has worsened, provoking an ‘avalanche’ of cyberattacks, said Hasanov.

The arrest of the latest group of alleged cybercriminals would seem to be only a small part of the difficult problem of providing security for Azerbaijan’s banking system.

The Azerbaijani authorities have opened a criminal case against Sumgayit residents Ruzigar Baylarov, Hamid Azimzadeh, Sabuhi Guliyev, Baku resident Elnur Aghayev, Lachin native Elkhan Abdulkarimov and ‘other group members,’ according to the MIA. They have been charged with ‘theft by means of carriers of electronic information’ and ‘illegally obtaining digital information.’

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