The growing threat of cybercrime is very real. Hackers have seemingly been able to find weak links in almost every computer network. In February hackers breached Bangladesh Bank’s systems and stole its credentials for payment transfers. The hackers then bombarded the Federal Reserve Bank of New York with nearly three dozen requests to move money from the Bangladesh Bank’s account to entities in the Philippines and Sri Lanka, for a total of more than $80m. One of the money transfer requestes was held up because the hackers spelling of ‘foundation’ was incorrect, which prompted the bank to seek clarification and stop transfer.
Hackers misspelled “foundation” in the NGO’s name as “fandation”, prompting a routing bank, Deutsche Bank, to seek clarification from the Bangladesh central bank, which stopped the transaction, one of the officials said. There is no NGO under the name of Shalika Foundation in the list of registered Sri Lankan non-profits. Reuters could not immediately find contact information for the organisation. At the same time, the unusually high number of payment instructions and the transfer requests to private entities – as opposed to other banks – raised suspicions at the Fed, which also alerted the Bangladeshis, the officials said. The details of how the hacking came to light and was stopped before it did more damage have not been previously reported. Bangladesh Bank has billions of dollars in a current account with the Fed, which it uses for international settlements.