Bangladesh bank says hackers tried to steal $951m

Dhaka, March 13

Bangladesh’s central bank confirmed today that cyber criminals tried to withdraw $951 million from its US bank account, as the country’s finance minister said he first got to know of one of the biggest bank heists in history through the media.

Unknown hackers breached the computer systems of Bangladesh Bank, and transferred $81 million from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to casinos in the Philippines between February 4 and February 5.

Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said the central bank did not inform him about the heist, and that he learned of it only a month later when news first appeared in the media. “I am very much unhappy about the handling of the issue.”

He said he planned to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today and decide what action to take against central bank officials.

The cyber heist and its global scale has left Bangladesh officials scrambling to find answers and recover money that was lost.

The incident has also left other banks and businesses around the world eager to learn more, so they can review their own networks for signs that they are vulnerable to similar attacks or might already have been breached.

Bangladesh Bank said in a Facebook post that hackers made 35 separate requests to withdraw money from its Fed account, totalling $951 million, confirming earlier reports.

A version of this article appears in print on March 14, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

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