Hackers steal $81 million from a bank that had no firewall

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Bangladeshi Bank Robbed Because of Its Cheap Equipment

Sometimes the best way to learn is from your mistakes, or at least someone else's mistakes. The central bank of Bangladesh just gave all of us future bank owners a very important lesson — don't skimp on network security.

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Hackers managed to steal about $81 million from Bangladesh Bank thanks to the bank's use of $10 network switches and a complete lack of firewalls, Reuters reported. It is one of the largest amounts stolen from a bank at once in history.

The theft happened in February when the hackers got into Bangladesh Bank's systems, grabbed credentials, and then made dozens of requests from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to move money from Bangladesh to accounts in the Philippines and Sri Lanka. The transactions were stopped because they made a typo, spelling "foundation" as "fandation," which caused a routing bank to question the Bangladesh Bank.

Related: Boston art museum heist:

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Hackers steal $81 million from a bank that had no firewall
In this March 18, 1990 still image from surveillance video released by the U.S. Attorney's Office,Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, an unauthorized visitor walks inside the rear entrance of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Robbers stole more than a dozen works of art at the museum about 24 hours later. Twenty five years later, the artwork remains missing and no one has ever been charged in the heist. (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum/U.S. Attorney's Office via AP)
BOSTON - MARCH 13: An empty frame on the right is where Vermeer's 'The Concert,' circa 1658 - 166, once was. In the background, the spot where Rembrandt's 'The Storm on the Sea of Galilee' used to be. The anniversary of a major art heist is coming up. (Photo by David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - MARCH 19: The front page of The Boston Globe on March 19, 1990 featured a story about the Gardner Museum art heist. (Photo by The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MARCH 10: Anthony Amore, director of security for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, gives The Boston Globe a tour of the museum, on Wednesday, March 10, 2010. The upcoming 20-year anniversary on March 18 marks the biggest art heist in history, with 13 priceless works taken by two men dressed as Boston Police officers. The museum is offering a $5 million reward and the FBI is offering immunity from prosecution and confidentiality to anyone who returns the works. (Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - MARCH 13: Spaces for missing Rembrandt paintings: 'A Lady and Gentlemen in Black,' circa 1633, and 'The Storm on the Sea Of Galilee,' also circa 1633. The anniversary of a major heist of art masterpieces is coming up. (Photo by David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - MARCH 13: An empty frame with the wallpaper showing through, where Rembrandt's 'The Storm on the Sea of Galilee,' circa 1633, once was. The anniversary of a major art heist is coming up. (Photo by David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Anthony Amore, chief of security at the Gardner Museum, center, stands next to a poster that shows an image of a Vermeer painting and lists a reward, right, while facing reporters during a news conference at FBI headquarters in Boston, Monday, March 18, 2013. The FBI believes it knows the identities of the thieves who stole art valued at up to $500 million from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum more than two decades ago. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers, right, stands next to a poster that shows a Rembrandt painting and a reward while facing reporters during a news conference at FBI headquarters in Boston, Monday, March 18, 2013. The FBI believes it knows the identities of the thieves who stole art valued at up to $500 million from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum more than two decades ago. DesLauriers says the thieves belong to a criminal organization based in New England and the mid-Atlantic states. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
A. Ryan McGuigan, attorney for Robert Gentile, gestures while speaking outside federal court, Friday, April 17, 2015, in Hartford, Conn. The reputed Connecticut mobster, linked to artwork stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum in 1990, was arrested Friday, on a gun charge. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
FILE - In this May 10, 2012 file photo, law enforcement agents dig in the front yard of the home of Robert Gentile in Manchester, Conn. The reputed Connecticut mobster, linked to artwork stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum in 1990, was arrested Friday, April 17, 2015, on a gun charge and was due in federal court in Hartford that afternoon, according to the U.S. attorney's office. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)
Law enforcement agents search the yard at the home of reputed Connecticut mobster Robert Gentile in Manchester, Conn., Thursday, May 10, 2012. Gentile's lawyer A. Ryan McGuigan says the FBI warrant allows the use of ground-penetrating radar and believes they are looking for paintings stolen in 1990 from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum worth half a billion dollars. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
A law enforcement agent searches a shed behind the home of reputed Connecticut mobster Robert Gentile in Manchester, Conn., Thursday, May 10, 2012. Gentile's lawyer A. Ryan McGuigan says the FBI warrant allows the use of ground-penetrating radar and believes they are looking for paintings stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum worth half a billion dollars. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Law enforcement agents search the back yard of reputed Connecticut mobster Robert Gentile in Manchester, Conn., Thursday, May 10, 2012. Gentile's lawyer A. Ryan McGuigan says the FBI warrant allows the use of ground-penetrating radar and believes they are looking for paintings stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum worth half a billion dollars. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Law enforcement agents search the back yard of the home of reputed Connecticut mobster Robert Gentile in Manchester, Conn., Thursday, May 10, 2012. Gentile's lawyer A. Ryan McGuigan says the FBI warrant allows the use of ground-penetrating radar and believes they are looking for paintings stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum worth half a billion dollars. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Law enforcement agents search a car at the home of reputed Connecticut mobster Robert Gentile in Manchester, Conn., Thursday, May 10, 2012. Gentile's lawyer A. Ryan McGuigan says the FBI warrant allows the use of ground-penetrating radar and believes they are looking for paintings stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum worth half a billion dollars. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
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If the hackers didn't make that spelling error, they could have successfully stolen nearly $1 billion from the Bangladesh central bank, Reuters reported in March.

An investigation brought up the fact that Bangladesh Bank used very cheap network switches and had no firewall in place, making it incredibly easy for hackers to grab login credentials and the like. The bank's system, which is essentially open to anyone who can get their hands on credentials, is connected to the SWIFT global bank payment network, which is a network that allows for high-value bank transfers.

SEE ALSO: All the cyberattacks on the U.S. government (that we know of)

According to Reuters, the police have knowledge of people who received the money from the central bank of Bangladesh, but do not know the identities of the hackers. This is partially because of the bank's cheap hardware — better network switches would have been able to trace exactly where the hackers were accessing the network from.

A bit more money spent on even a minor amount of security could've saved Bangladesh Bank over $80 million.

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