Atiur Rahman speaking at an IMF conference
Former Bangladesh Central Bank governor Atiur Rahman said the hack was 'like a military attack' and he had no idea from where it originated Flickr/International Monetary Fund

The governor of Bangladesh's central bank, Atiur Rahman, has resigned from his position after hackers were able to compromise more than $100m (£70m) from the nation's foreign reserves on 5 February. The move comes following rising tensions with the country's finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith who slammed the bank's immediate breach response as "incompetent".

The hackers in question were able to breach Bangladesh Bank's online systems and steal credentials for payment transfers. After this, the crooks made dozens of requests for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to transfer money from the Bangladesh Bank's account to entities in the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Rahman – who was in charge of the bank at the time of the theft – has said the nation's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has accepted his resignation. According to Bloomberg, Rahman was due to retire in August after a seven-year stint at the bank however has said he wanted to leave now with dignity.

"They cannot insult me in public"

"If it's my fault, they can take action against me, against Bangladesh Bank. But they cannot insult me in public," he said. "I will do anything and everything possible for the country. This event was almost like a militant attack, almost like an earthquake. I did not realise how it happened, from where it originated and who had done it.

"When I was informed I was so puzzled. Fearing that it might destroy our economy, I quickly took opinion of the experts. I brought them to the country from abroad and ensured security so that it did not occur again. I don't deny that I took time. It was a cyberattack and even today we don't know from where it originated."

In total, the hackers attempted to compromise almost $1bn and were only prevented from doing so because of a basic typo. According to banking officials, the criminals misspelled the word "foundation" in a message to the Shalika Foundation when attempting to transfer funds. In the wake of the incident, the central bank said it recovered $20m of the stolen funds, and $81m remains outstanding.