Typo thwarts hackers in $1 billion cyber heist on Bangladesh central bank

It was just a few letters off: Someone misspelled “foundation” as “fandation” on an online payment transfer request.

But that simple typo helped stop hackers from getting away with a nearly $1 billion digital heist last month, Reuters reported.

Hackers broke into the Bangladesh central bank’s computer systems in early February, according to the news service, which cited anonymous officials at the financial institution. The attackers stole the credentials needed to authorize payment transfers and then asked the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to make massive money transfers — nearly three dozen of them — from the Bangladeshi bank’s account with the Fed to accounts at other financial institutions overseas.

Four transfers to accounts in the Philippines, totaling about $80 million, worked. But then a fifth request, for $20 million to be sent to an apparently fictitious Sri Lankan nonprofit group, was flagged as suspicious by a routing bank because of the “fandation” error.

Bangladesh’s central bank was able to stop that transaction after the routing bank asked for confirmation.



  1. Foundation: An institution financed by a donation or legacy to aid research, education, the arts
  2. Hackers: a person who uses computers to gain unauthorized access to data.
  3. Heist: a robbery.
  4. Anonymous: not identified by name
  5. Credentials: Thatwhich entitles one to confidence, credit, or authority
  6. Apparently:  Readily understood; clear or obvious
  7. Fictitious: notgenuine or authentic
  8. Flagged: To signal to stop


Source: The Washington Post

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