Following an earlier board meeting by SWIFT this month at its global headquarters, the payments group has opted to launch a new cooperation that endorses its recent customer security program, helping fortify existing efforts to curb illicit activity and promote transparency across its network with funding, according to a recent SWIFT statement.
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Earlier this month at the Payments Panorama Conference in Calgary, SWIFT’s Chief Executive for the Americas and UK, Javier Perez-Tasso, warned that the payments industry itself faces a potentially defining moment in the fight for cybersecurity. The comments come amidst an ongoing investigation into twelve banks after a breach this year and an attempted $1 billion heist.
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Hackers were able to make off with over $81 million in May from the Bangladeshi central bank, consequently rerouting it to banks in the Philippines. These funds have yet to be recovered. Compounding this issue were reports that began circulating after the heist that placed the blame strictly on SWIFT’s shoulders, after its technicians reportedly left Bangladesh Bank’s systems vulnerable after what was a routine update. The reports and investigation also found that the errors could potentially have placed many other banks at risk.
As such, SWIFTs program was designed to help shore up areas of cybersecurity in the financial industry by focusing on a total of five strategic initiatives, i.e. the improvement of information sharing amongst the global community, the augmentation of SWIFT’s customer tools and guidelines for audit frameworks, the support for increased transaction pattern detection, and the bolstering of third party providers.
According to SWIFT’s Chairman, Yawar Shah, in a recent statement on the program: “The industry’s security is a top priority for the cooperative. We will work closely with regulators and customers to ensure this programme’s success and the industry’s take up of the necessary security measures.”
“A dedicated management team has been put in place under the CEO to manage the programme, and actively consult and engage with the community to further define and execute the five initiatives. The Board has earmarked funds for the programme and will ensure it receives the right focus and investment as it moves forward,” he added.