The $1bn typo: How a spelling mistake bungled a billion-dollar bank heist

Who’d have thought a tiny typo could save a $1bn bank heist?

In one of the largest known bank heists in history, hackers stole an eye-watering $80m from Bangladesh Bank.

However, a spelling mistake stopped them from stealing another $850m.

Hackers breached Bangladesh Bank’s online systems and stole credentials for payment transfers.

They then contacted the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to move money from Bangladesh’s New York bank account to entities in the Philippines and Sri Lanka

Four requests for transferring a total of $81m went through. On their fifth request, hackers spelled the name of the NGO, Shalika foundation, as Shalika “fandation”.

This led to the routing bank, Deutsche Bank, contacting the Bangladesh central bank to get confirmation for the transaction which was subsequently cancelled.

According to the officials, transactions totalling $850m to $870m were stopped.

The hacking had occurred at some point between 4 and 5 February this year.

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