Most expensive typo ever amounted to $919 million

On February 5, 2016, hackers allegedly stole $81 million from Bangladesh’s central bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (NYFED). Hackers planned to steal $1 billion but failed to do so because of a typo in the name of one of the Philippines-based recipients, that is the most expensive typo ever since it may have “cost” hackers $919 million.

In fact, the thieves may not be designated as hackers after all since the payment instructions in the case “were fully authenticated by the SWIFT messaging system in accordance with standard authentication protocol,” the NYFED stated. To date, there’s no evidence of any attempt to break into the NYFED systems.

This case is thus more an identity theft case in the commission of the crime and the hacking part may be limited to how identity information was obtained. This case showed once again that most serious cyber cases still result from human factor. Bangladesh’s central bank governor Atiur Rahman resigned after Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said he was informed of the theft a month after it happened.