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SWIFT tells banks to increase security

The global messaging system provider SWIFT is asking banks to ensure that they following recommended security practices. This follows a huge cyber attack on Bangladesh’s central bank involving $81 million. SWIFT said it is asking its member banks to review internal security. Its staff will also begin calling banks to highlight the importance of reviewing security measures after the attack in Bangladesh. Unknown hackers had breached the computer systems of Bangladesh Bank and in early February attempting to steal $951 million from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which it uses for international settlements. Some attempted transfers were blocked, but $81 million was transferred to accounts in the Philippines in one of the largest cyber heists in history. SWIFT has prepared a summary of previously issued recommendations for implementing security measures to thwart hackers, which advises members to pay close attention to best practices. At present there is no organization with regulatory oversight of how central banks and other financial institutions secure their networks. According to confidential interim report on cyber attack, the attackers took control of the bank’s network, stole credentials for sending SWIFT messages and used sophisticated malicious software to attack the computers it uses to process and authorize transactions. The investigators did not identify other victims or name the hackers, but said that forensic evidence suggests they were also behind other recent cyber attacks on financial institutions.

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