Cyber attack: SWIFT advises banks to review internal security

The SWIFT messaging system says it plans to ask banks to follow recommended security practices, following an unprecedented cyber attack on Bangladesh’s central bank that yielded $81 million.

A spokeswoman for the group, who preferred not be named, said late on Sunday the Brussels-based SWIFT, would issue a written advisory on Monday asking banks to review internal security.

Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) supplies secure messaging services and interface software to wholesale financial entities.

SWIFT Group is a cooperative owned by some 3,000 global financial institutions.
She added that SWIFT staff would also begin to call banks to highlight the importance of reviewing security measures after the attack in Bangladesh.

“Our priority at this time is to encourage customers to review and, where necessary, to reinforce their local operating environments,” the spokeswoman added.

Unknown hackers breached the computer systems of Bangladesh Bank and in early February attempted to steal $951 million from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which it uses for international settlements.

Some attempted transfers were blocked but $81 million was transferred to accounts in the Philippines in one of the largest cyber heists in history.

SWIFT has so far said little about the attack, except that it was related to “an internal operational issue” at Bangladesh Bank and that there was no compromise in its core messaging system.

Representatives of Bangladesh Bank and FireEye declined to comment on the confidential report and their probe into the Feb. 4 heist. (Reuters/NAN)

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