Bangladesh’s central bank has revealed that cyber criminals had tried to withdraw nearly a billion dollars from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to casinos in the Philippines.
Bangladesh suffered one of the biggest bank heists of all time and the country’s finance minister only got to hear about it from the world’s media. Unknown hackers initially breached the computer systems of Bangladesh Bank, the country’s central bank, before transferring $81 million from its account at the Fed Reserve in New York. The wire was made toward Philippine casinos between Feb. 4 and Feb. 5.
As reported by Reuters, Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith revealed that the bank did not inform him of the heist and the incident was only revealed to him when the world’s media started picking up on it.
The Finance minister stated that he had planned to meet the Prime Minister of the country to decide on the action to be taken against officials at the central bank.
Speaking to reporters in his office in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, he added:
I am very much unhappy about the handling of the issue.
One of the largest cyber heists targeting a bank has left officials from the country desperately seeking answers about the scale and operation of the heist, as well as the means to recover the stolen money.
Other banks around the world are also keen on learning about the incident to stay alert against such heists that could target them in the future.
Bangladesh bank officials have, in a Facebook post, admitted that hackers altogether made 35 separate requests to withdraw money from its US Fed account, totalling to about $951 million. The Bangladesh-owned US Fed account, used primarily for international settlements had billions of dollars in reserves.
The country’s officials are privately admitting that it would be hard for them to recover the money that has been dispersed out across multiple banking channels. The $81 million that was wired toward casinos in the Philippines could have already been diverted to Hong Kong and other territories.
Image credit: Wikimedia.