24 May, AtoZForex, Lagos – Following a series of recent attacks, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) has announced steps to launch a new security program. The SWIFT new security program is aimed at rebuilding its damaged reputation and strengthen the security protocol as a result of recent security breaches at the likes of the Bangladesh central bank. SWIFT, which provides a secure messaging service is slated to have its chief executive, Gottfried Leibbrandt announce the launch of a five-point plan later this week at a financial services conference in Brussels.
SWIFT new security program
Last year, thieves beat the system to cart away with over $12 million from Banco del Austro. Also, there was an unsuccessful attack on Vietnam’s Tien Phong Bank. Both of which went without much publicity, compared to the recent hack of the Bangladesh central bank’s system for the theft of $81 million. The hack was traced to malware which altered the code of the SWIFT security system. In order to hide the traces of fraudulent payments from customers’ local database applications. The attackers tried to steal an aggregate of $951 million from the Bangladesh central bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in February. However, most of the transfer attempt was thwarted, with only $81 million routed to accounts in the Philippines and diverted to casinos by the Bangladesh Bank hackers. The recent breach of the SWIFT system has dented the banking industry’s faith in the Belgium-based co-operative owned by its users.
Leibbrandt opines that the Bangladesh Bank hack was a
“watershed event for the banking industry”. Saying also that “There will be a before and an after Bangladesh. The Bangladesh fraud is not an isolated incident … this is a big deal. And it gets to the heart of banking.”
Failure of internal security systems
SWIFT also insists that banks have to drastically improve their internal security systems to help fortify security procedures around SWIFT. As well as to increase their use of software that could spot fraudulent payments. In a bid for higher security standards, SWIFT will also provide more stringent guidelines that auditors and regulators can use to assess whether banks’ SWIFT security procedures are good enough. In SWIFT’s defense, Leibbrandt said many of the security breaches occur primarily because of failures at users’ end.
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