Bangladesh Bank considers legal action against the NY Fed in Hollywood-esque hack

By Cameron Abbott and Simon Ly

In a story that would make an excellent plot to a sequel to Ocean’s 13, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has been the target of a successful major cyber hack. Part of the targeted attack was an attempt to steal nearly $1 billion from Bangladesh Bank’s account.

If anyone would be well protected it would be the NY Fed, right? Well, while they were able to block some 30 transactions, 5 were successful, resulting in $81 million being stolen from Bangladesh Bank’s account.

The NY Fed has released a statement outlining that its systems were not breached, but instead pointing to SWIFT, a member-owned cooperative relied upon by banks to authenticate international monetary transactions. In response, a SWIFT representative stated that it “reiterates that the SWIFT network itself was not breached”. For its part, the NY Fed agreed that it “viewed this as a major lapse on the part of FRB NY”.

It will be fascinating to see how this he-said she-said blame game plays out. The current state of events is that the Bangladesh Bank is engaging legal counsel to establish grounds for recompense.

It goes without saying that these mind boggling figures and the nature of the attack emphasise that no one is immune from attacks. Next time someone tells you that it can’t happen to your organisation – remember this example.

For more information, please see Bloomberg’s report here.

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