Hackers who stole about $80 million from a Bangladesh central bank account with the New York Fed could have made off with far more were it not for their shoddy spelling.
According to Reuters, Bangladesh Bank officials think that hackers breached its systems in early February and stole its credentials for payment transfers.
The crooks then sent a host of payment requests to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where Bangladesh Bank has a current account holding billions of dollars that is used for international settlements.
Although four requests to send a total of about $81 million to the Philippines went through, a fifth that asked for $20 million to be sent to Sri Lanka was thwarted because of a spelling error.
The money was intended for an NGO but, bank officials told Reuters, the crooks misspelled the word 'foundation' in its name as 'fandation'. When routing bank Deutsche Bank sought clarification, the payment was halted.
Meanwhile, more payments - worth a total of up to $870 million - were stopped when the Fed became suspicious that so many payment instructions were directed towards private entities, rather than banks.
Bangladesh Bank says that it has recovered some of the $81 million that was lost and is working with authorities in the Philippines to get the rest.
However, although the payment credentials were stolen at Bangladesh Bank's end, the country's Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith has blamed the New York Fed for not stopping the transactions earlier, even raising the possibility of suing the US outfit.
For its part, the Fed says that its systems were not breached and it is working with the Bangladesh central bank.