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The Daily

Heist Targeting Central Banks Foiled by Typo

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Mar 11, 2016

DevilComputerHackers broke into Bangladesh's central bank and, after stealing its transfer credentials, attempted to trick the New York Federal Reserve into transferring nearly $900 million to entities in the Philippines and Sri Lanka, said Reuters

They would have gotten away with it, too, if not for a typo, according to Reuters.  

The plot was discovered when one of the requests asked that $20 million be sent to a "fandation" in Sri Lanka. The routing bank contacted Bangladesh Bank for clarification. Realizing they were being robbed, Bangladesh Bank was able to stop that transfer, but by then $81 million had already been sent to the Philippines. After the plot was discovered, the bank managed to stop additional requested transfers totaling between $850 million and $870 million, according to Fortune. 

Since the raid, Bangladesh has been trying to trace the hackers' tracks and recover the stolen money, said The Financial Times. Philippine authorities have lent their assistance by finding and freezing the bank accounts with the rest of the money. 

Bangladesh's finance minister said that the government is considering filing a case against the NY Fed for failing to detect and report the crime, said the Times. The NY Fed, part of the U.S. central bank system, provides financial services for other central banks throughout the world, as well as governments and international institutions. Fortune said Bangladesh has billions of dollars in its NY Fed account, which it uses for international settlements.  The NY Fed denies any wrongdoing, saying its own systems were not hacked, and the transfers followed protocol.