SWIFT makes big cybersecurity push following criticism over record-breaking cyber heist

Dive Brief:

  • Financial communications network SWIFT announced Monday it has hired BAE Systems and Fox-IT to help improve its own security and probe customer security incidents, according to a statement. 
  • SWIFT also recently created a dedicated internal Customer Security Intelligence team to bolster its customer information sharing initiative, which aims to help thwart cyberattacks across the network. 
  • Both efforts are part of the global financial messaging network’s recently launched Customer Security Programme, where SWIFT helps its "community" by offering "forensic investigations" related to its products and services. 

Dive Insight:

SWIFT was criticized for not taking security seriously enough after criminals used SWIFT messages to help steal a record-breaking $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank in February. Following the attack, additional banks in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world began checking for possible security breaches related to the SWIFT global financial messaging network.

Given growing cybersecurity concerns in the finance industry globally (a May survey from Vormetric found 90% of IT security pros in financial services feel vulnerable to a data breach), SWIFT is making a large and visible cybersecurity improvement effort, including both internal efforts and external assistance from other companies.

SWIFT’s new program emphasizes information sharing between its members in order to strengthen the defenses of all. It is also feeding anonymized intelligence back to the broader SWIFT community in to help member banks learn from what they find.

"The inevitable criminal focus on the heart of the financial system means that the financial services industry needs to ensure it has effective cyber defenses against well-funded, motivated and organized attackers," said James Hatch, BAE Systems Director of Cyber Services, in a statement. 

Filed Under: Security