A $101m cyber heist has left central bank officials from Bangladesh to New York arguing over what may be one of the largest and most audacious bank raids in history.
Hackers allegedly breached the Bangladesh central bank’s security system and then masqueraded as Bangladeshi officials to submit a series of requests for the New York Federal Reserve to transfer large tranches of money from its account there.
Bangladesh Bank told the Financial Times last night that a total of $101m was wrongly transmitted, of which $20m went to a Sri Lankan bank. It was this last payment that raised suspicions over the authenticity of the transfers.
“The Sri Lankan bank did not disburse it immediately and we could recover the full amount. The remaining $81m was transmitted to a few accounts of a Philippine bank,” the central bank said. Anti-money laundering authorities in the Philippines were co-operating with Bangladesh and had already frozen the relevant bank accounts, it added.
An experienced cyber expert, who had worked at the World Bank and is currently employed as an “IT governance specialist” on a Bangladesh Bank project, was investigating the case with his forensic team, the central bank said. “We have confidence the stolen funds will be recovered in full.”
Central banks are ripe targets for criminal groups given the potential windfall they can make if just one of their attempts succeeds.
While the money may ultimately be recovered there is a growing dispute over who is to blame for allowing the transfers.
Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Bangladesh’s finance minister, told reporters in Dhaka this week that his government was considering filing a case against the New York Fed and that he was also surprised by the failure of his own country’s central bank to report the crime.
He said that the Fed officials “cannot avoid their responsibility in any way”, and added that he first learned of the scam from press reports. “Bangladesh Bank authorities did not inform [us] of the matter,” he said.
A spokesperson for the NY Fed said, however, that its systems were not hacked and the transfers were made after it followed protocol.
据悉，黑客入侵了孟加拉央行的安全系统，然后伪装成孟加拉官员，向纽约联邦储备银行(New York Federal Reserve)发送一连串指令，要求转移孟加拉央行账上的大笔存款。
孟加拉财长阿布?马尔?阿布杜尔?穆希特(Abul Maal Abdul Muhith)本周在达卡向记者表示，孟加拉政府正考虑起诉纽约联储，孟加拉央行没有报告这起罪案也让他感到惊讶。