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The Bangladesh Bank Heist - A Lesson in Cybersecurity

Posted on:July 1, 2023 at 12:00 AM (3 min read)


The Bangladesh Bank heist in February 2016 was one of the most infamous cybercrimes in history. Criminals attempted to steal nearly $1 billion from the central bank of Bangladesh, successfully making off with $81 million. While this event sent shockwaves across the global financial system, it also serves as a stark reminder of the importance of strong cybersecurity measures. In this blog post, we’ll explore the details of the heist and discuss ways to prevent such incidents in the future.

The heist:

The Bangladesh Bank heist was orchestrated by a group of hackers who infiltrated the bank’s computer network and gained access to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) system. This allowed them to send fraudulent messages requesting the transfer of large sums of money from Bangladesh Bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to accounts in the Philippines and Sri Lanka. The heist was partially foiled due to a simple typo in one of the transfer requests, which alerted authorities and prevented the full sum from being stolen.

Lessons learned:

The Bangladesh Bank heist highlighted the vulnerabilities of the global financial system and emphasized the need for robust cybersecurity measures. To prevent similar incidents, organizations should consider the following strategies:

  1. Strengthen internal cybersecurity protocols: Organizations should regularly review and update their cybersecurity policies and procedures. This includes implementing strong access controls, encrypting sensitive data, and monitoring network traffic for any unusual activities. Employee training on cybersecurity best practices and the importance of strong passwords should also be prioritized.

  2. Conduct regular vulnerability assessments and penetration testing: Regular testing can help organizations identify potential vulnerabilities in their systems and networks, allowing them to take proactive measures to address these weaknesses before cybercriminals can exploit them.

  3. Implement multi-factor authentication: Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide two or more forms of identification before accessing sensitive systems. This can help prevent unauthorized access even if login credentials are compromised.

  4. Keep software and systems up-to-date: Ensuring that all software and systems are regularly updated with the latest security patches can help protect against known vulnerabilities and minimize the risk of cyberattacks.

  5. Collaborate with other organizations and authorities: Sharing information about potential threats, vulnerabilities, and best practices can help organizations stay ahead of cybercriminals. Building relationships with law enforcement agencies and participating in industry-specific cybersecurity groups can also be beneficial.


The Bangladesh Bank heist serves as a cautionary tale for organizations worldwide. By implementing strong cybersecurity measures, regularly assessing vulnerabilities, and fostering collaboration among various stakeholders, organizations can minimize the risk of falling victim to similar attacks. The importance of robust cybersecurity practices cannot be overstated in today’s interconnected world. As cybercriminals grow more sophisticated, organizations must remain vigilant and proactive in their efforts to protect their networks, systems, and sensitive data.

Remember, cybersecurity is not a one-time event but an ongoing process that requires constant evaluation, adaptation, and investment. By learning from incidents like the Bangladesh Bank heist and implementing best practices, organizations can work together to create a more secure global financial system and safeguard their assets from the ever-evolving threats of cybercrime.