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SWIFT payment or cyber fraud is on the rise, and there is strong evidence that banks are not adequately preparing themselves to combat the threat. In addition to various high-profile incidents of bank theft using the SWIFT messaging network, an EastNets’ survey conducted in July found that cybercriminals have targeted more than four-in-five banks since 2016. Banks indicated that the problem has been getting worse. Common solutions, namely SWIFT’s Customer Security Program, are helping, but are insufficient. Banks have various practices and tools at their disposal to harden their security posture. We discuss what these are and reveal the survey findings.
The SWIFT system has been under concerted attacks in recent years. A series of high-profile cyber-related robberies has called attention to the problem of SWIFT payment-transfer fraud, in which criminals issue fraudulent payment transfer requests. These robberies — committed remotely, using keystrokes rather than force, and often involving many millions of dollars — have alarmed bankers across the globe.
At least seven hacking collectives are actively seeking to perpetrate SWIFT fraud, says one cybersecurity expert, and most attacks go unreported, according to a 2018 report. According to a recent news article, a confidential United Nations report alleges that North Korea has amassed some $2 billion for its weapons of mass destruction program using “widespread and increasingly sophisticated” cyberattacks against banks and cyber-currency exchanges.
Deya Innab, EastNets, How Banks are Combating The Rise in SWIFT Cyber Fraud (11.2019)
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