SWIFT warning: A second Bank attack


13 May, AtoZForex, Lagos – Following initial reports of the hack into the Bangladesh central bank, and the consequent $81 million cyber heist. SWIFT warning of a second bank attack, reveals that similar malware attack happened again. This time, the target was a commercial bank. The second attack was confirmed by SWIFT spokeswoman Natasha de Teran. She clarified on the similarity to the initial $81 million case of the Bangladesh attack. While it remains unclear how much was stolen this time, if any.

SWIFT, the global financial messaging network used by banks globally to move billions of dollars every day, had previously stated that the first Bangladesh incident was not an isolated attack. But that the core messaging system remained intact. However, confirming the second attack on a bank will likely increase scrutiny on the security of a network that is a linchpin of the global financial system.

SWIFT warning: Bangladesh heist not an isolated attack

The SWIFT warning said revealed that attackers exhibited a “deep and sophisticated knowledge of specific operational controls” at targeted banks and may have been aided by “malicious insiders or cyber attacks, or a combination of both.” The financial security firm, owned by co-operative banks and used by 11,000 financial institutions globally, said investigations revealed that the second case confirmed Bangladesh heist “was not a single occurrence, but part of a wider and highly adaptive campaign targeting banks.”

After the Bangladesh incident, security researchers at British defense contractor BAE Systems confirmed that the Bangladesh Bank hackers went to a great length to pull this off and cover their tracks. BAE said the SWIFT software on the bank computers was probably compromised in order to erase records of illicit transfers. Hence, being able to prevent early detection.

Taking responsibility

Although confirming that its security system was actually hacked, particularly the Alliance Access server software. The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) has however defended itself.  As SWIFT clarified that the attack was only made possible due to the Bangladesh Bank hackers were able to successfully identify and exploit weaknesses in their local security. The cooperative owned by 3,000 financial institutions, also confirmed that it had created a software update to thwart the malware. Also emphasizing to financial institutions to properly scrutinize their security procedures.

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