Hacker’s typo saves bank from $1 billion robbery


It isn’t very often that a typo comes to the rescue but in Dhaka recently that was certainly the case.

The error occurred when a spelling mistake on bank transfer between the Bangladesh Central Bank and the New York Federal Reserve that involved nearly $1 billion in a suspected heist.

Unfortunately, the hackers still managed to get away with $80 million in what is believed to be one of the biggest bank thefts in history.

The hackers breached the security systems at Bangladesh Bank and stole the credentials for payment transfers.

Over 30 requests were then sent to transfer money from the Bangladesh Bank’s account to their own in the Philippines and Sri Lanka. 4 requests to the Philippines were accepted totaling around $81 million but another transfer for $20 million to Sri Lanka was held up due to the spelling error.

The spelling mistake was a basic error with “foundation” being spelt “fandation” prompting the routing bank, Deutsche Bank to seek further clarification regarding the transfer. On further investigation there was no NGO in Sri Lanka under the name Shalika Foundation so no contact information could be found meaning the bank put a stop on the transfer.

Further investigation noticed that an unusually large amount of payment instructions and transfer requests had been set up. Most were to private entities rather than other banks which again aroused suspicion.

The full details of the theft had not previously been disclosed with no doubt large amounts of information still not making it out into the public domain for obvious reasons.

The only figures released are those mentioned above and that transfer totaling $850-870 million were stopped.

Source: Reuters


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