Bangladesh Bank chief throws in the towel after cyberattack

The Finance Minister only found out about the fraud through the media, it seems.

The head of the Bangladeshi central bank has resigned following a devastating cyberattack which rinsed the country's federal reserve account of at least $80 million.

Atiur Rahman, who served as Governor of the Bangladesh Bank, the central financial institution for the country, submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina this week according to the BBC.

Despite the attack taking place in early February, the 64-year-old executive did not tell the Bangladeshi Finance Minister, A M A Muhith, who only learned of the theft through the global press.

The group of hackers managed to steal at least $80 million from Bangladesh's New York-based Federal Reserve account. The criminals infected the Bangladesh Bank's computer systems with surveillance-based malware, and after watching transactions and learning how the banks operated for a few weeks, decided to strike.

In a flurry of transactions requests using Bangladesh's stolen SWIFT code, the cyberattackers sent requests for cash to be sent to entities across Asia.

It was only thanks to a spelling mistake in one of the requests that bank officials became suspicious, querying the transfers and blocking others in the list.

If no-one had noticed, the criminals could have gotten away with up to $1 billion.

It is not yet known who is behind the cyberattack, but media has pointed towards the possibility of the Chinese.

Bangladeshi authorities have managed to claw back a portion of the funds, but an amount has been laundered through casinos in the Philippines, which will make the stolen cash difficult to track and recover.

The Federal reserve has been blamed for not stopping the fraud, and Bangladeshi officials are mulling the prospect of suing to recover the remainder if need be.

See also: What happens when you leak stolen bank data to the Dark Web?

On Monday, Muhith told local reporters:

"We've heard that Federal Reserve Bank of New York has completely denied their responsibility. They don't have any right. Of course, we'll file a case against them.

We have kept the money with them. They are responsible."

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