Massive Bank HEIST Halted By Typo
Nearly the biggest bank heist in history just happened. It was, however, not nearly as big as it was intended to be.
Hackers, whose identity is still unknown, managed to breach the system of the Bangladesh Central Bank. Once in, they stole the bank’s payment transfer credentials.
Their next step was to flood the Federal Reserve Bank of New York with almost three dozen requests to move money. The funds were to be sent to entities in Sri Lanka and The Philippines.
Initially, four requests for money going to the Philippines were approved. They totaled $81 million.
Then a red flag went up. A fifth request, this one for $20 million, contained a typo.
The hacker accidentally spelled the name of non-governmental organization, supposedly in Sri Lanka, as the Shalika Fandation instead of Foundation.
The single letter mistake held up the transfer when a routing location, the Deutsche Bank, requested clarification.
It turned out there was no NGO under the name Shalika Foundation registered in Sri Lanka.
This discovery, coupled with the unusually large number of requests going to private entities, rather than other banks, prompted suspicion of the other transactions at the Federal Reserve. They, in turn, alerted the Bangladesh Central Bank.
As a result, the remaining requests were denied.
The sum of the transfers in the heist that were stopped due to the typo was somewhere between $850 million and $870 million.
Money is kept at the Fed by the Bangladesh Bank for use in international settlements.
So far, authorities in Bangladesh have been unable to recover any of the funds other than those from the transfer with the typo, which was stopped in route.
The investigation is being aided by the Silicon Valley based company FireEye Inc.’s forensics division.
In the meantime, Bangladesh Central and the Fed are battling it out over responsibility for the lost funds.
There are 81 million reasons why neither wants to admit fault.
© 2016 Vianna Vaughan