Amidst months of questions surrounding SWIFT and the subsequent breach of its interbank messaging network, the group has faced ramped up pressure to bolster its cyber defenses, which culminated in the recruitment of security specialists to help reinforce its overall execution.
SWIFT has faced an uneasy year, which reached a nadir in an attempted $1 billion heist that resulted in the theft of $81 million from the Central Bank of Bangladesh. Despite mutual finger pointing, allegations arose of negligence on SWIFT’s side, after technicians failed to properly account for basic security protocols that may have left the bank vulnerable to hacking.
Since then, banks have launched a series of investigations into their own respective defenses, which expanded to a total of twelve lenders as of May. This had followed from a previous attempt back in February in which cyber criminals tried to transfer upwards of $951 million from the Bangladeshi central bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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As a result of the past breach and desire to ramp up security defenses, SWIFT has leaned on cyber-security specialists BAE Systems and Fox-IT. Consequently, the group has also created a newly dedicated Forensics and Customer Security Intelligence Team, which will operate under a mandate to help foster a more transparent and heightened defense against the recent wave attacks at multiple bank sites.
SWIFT has also reported that its freshly launched program and team will be relying on detailed intelligence and analysis to steer its decision-making and policy. The new firms will also complement in-house cyber security expertise and directives. The recent decision echoes the sentiments of SWIFT’s Perez-Tasso in a recent conference.
According to SWIFT’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Craig Young, in a recent statement on the recruitment: “Customer intelligence, including intelligence related to attacks that have ultimately failed, is crucial to helping us continue protecting our community. Information we have already received from impacted banks has allowed us to identify new malware and to publish related IoCs which are helping to protect the wider community.”