Hacking: Swift Set To Launch New Security Plan

The Swift secure messaging service that oversees international banking said it plans to launch a new security programme as it fights to rebuild its reputation in the wake of the Bangladesh Bank heist.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (Swift)’s chief executive, Gottfried Leibbrandt made the programme announcement at a financial services conference in Brussels.

Swift will launch a five-point plan later this week.

Banks send payment instructions to one another via Swift messages. In February thieves hacked into the Swift system of the Bangladesh central bank, sending messages to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York allowing them to steal $81 million.

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Swift to Unveil New Security Plan After Hackers' Heists

The attack follows a similar but little noticed theft from Banco del Austro in Ecuador last year that netted thieves over $12 million (roughly Rs. 81.2 crores) and a previously undisclosed attack on Vietnam’s Tien Phong Bank that was not successful.

The crimes have dented the banking industry’s faith in Swift, a Belgium-based co-operative owned by its users.swift_reuters_812

The Bangladesh Bank hack was a “watershed event for the banking industry”, Leibbrandt will say.

“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.”

Swift wants banks to “drastically” improve information sharing, to toughen up security procedures around Swift and to increase their use of software that could spot fraudulent payments.

Swift will also provide tighter guidelines that auditors and regulators can use to assess whether banks’ Swift security procedures are good enough.

Leibbrandt will again defend Swift’s role, saying the hacks happened primarily because of failures at users. However, some finance industry executives say Swift has not been as active as it should be in improving security.

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Daniel Enisan is a content writer at edliner.com. With a degree in mass communication, Daniel is a full breed journalist. Daniel is a realist, loves the use of sarcasm, a movie and music junkie. He is also a poet and a good listener.

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