SWIFT Rolls Out New Customer Security Program Following Recent Breach

SWIFT has issued a five-point plan to fortify security measures across its network.

Following an ongoing investigation that has expanded to upwards of twelve banks around the globe, SWIFT has opted to roll out a new customer security program which is designed to help reinforce and foster secure and transparent measures across its international network, according to a SWIFT statement.

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SWIFT has come under fire over the past couple months after an attempted heist of $1.0 billion upended its infrastructure and image. Despite the attempted theft of such a large sum, hackers were able to make off with over $81 million in May from the Bangladesh 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.

New Direction?

Subsequently, in a bid to rehabilitate its image and respond to the numerous allegations and investigation from global banks, SWIFT outlined its new customer security initiative. The payments network has deflected reports that its systems were compromised – indeed there have been no instances of security breaches outside locally managed offices from the Bangladesh central bank.

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As such, SWIFT has opted to define its security measures in a more unified state, rolling out a new standard for its products and services. This will focus on a total of five new initiatives, including concessions in cyber defense and tools for customers, among others.

In particular, SWIFT will aim to improve information sharing across its global community. This will necessitate information from its customer base, as well as the multilateral flow of relevant information. In turn, SWIFT will also oversee the provision of information on best practices and innovation in cyber defense.

Moreover, SWIFT will bolster its suite of tools for customers in an effort to strengthen security requirements for customer-managed software across local environments. The group is also slated to increase remote monitoring capabilities of customer environments, including global transactions banks, regional and midsize banks, and small local banks.

Another area of emphasis of the new measures is the enhancement of SWIFT’s guidelines and audit frameworks. The group will be growing its security and operational baselines, developing related audit standards and certification processes for the secure management of its messages at customer sites.

This will also see the continued support of payment patterns control, sharing the best and most plausible practices for fraud detection at a given receiving bank. SWIFT will also be exploring unique tools to allow customers to recall fraudulent payment messages, such as facilitating ‘stop payment’ information or enquiries/alerts to reach the right people in a timely manner.

Finally, SWIFT will augment support by third party providers. One of its primary goals is a structural enhancement of its customers’ security, which will rely on extensive support of third party providers: security software and hardware, consulting, and training.

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