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SWIFT tightens security measures in wake of Bangladesh Bank crisis

Following a series of security breaches and incidents involving SWIFT customer banks, including the $81 million theft from Bangladesh Bank and a detected hack at Vietnam's TPBank, CEO Gottfried Leibbrandt has outlined a security protocol to reinforce the organisation's global financial system.

The plan includes the following five initiatives to:

  1. improve information sharing among the global financial community;
  2. harden security requirements for customer-managed software to better protect their local environments;
  3. enhance our guidelines and develop security audit frameworks for customers;
  4. support banks’ increased use of payment pattern controls to identify suspicious behaviour; and
  5. introduce certification requirements for third party providers.

Leibbrandt told the 14th annual European Financial Services Conference in Brussels yesterday that the attack on Bangladesh Bank will prove to be a watershed event for the banking industry, although he also reiterated that “SWIFT, our network, software and our core messaging services have not been compromised”. He also acknowledged that the Bangladesh fraud was not an isolated incident: “We are aware of at least two, but possibly more, other cases where fraudsters used the same modus operandi.”

Leibbrandt also called for the need to share information in the financial community, saying: “information sharing needs to get better, much better. It is critical that the global financial community works together to bolster our mutual security.”

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