Vicarious learning from Bangladesh

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Mohit Kharkwal, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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In February of this year hackers got into Bangladesh Bank’s systems which was found to have perhaps the worst possible cyber security in contemporary times. The bank relied on 10 dollar network switches and had no firewall in use. To make the situation even worse the bank in question is connected to SWIFT global bank payment network which allows for high value bank transfers.

After getting into the system hackers stole multiple credentials and then went on to make multiple transfers of money. They used Federal Reserve Bank of New York to move money from Bangladesh to accounts in Sri Lanka and Philippines. The total amount they were able to steal currently stand at 81 million dollars.

This illegal transaction was fortunately spotted when the hackers made a typo and spelled “foundation” as “fandation”. This seemingly trivial error caused counting bank to question the Bangladesh bank and scam was then discovered. Had the typo not made, Reuters estimate theft could have reached a billion dollars.

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