Swift hits at banks’ tardy responses to cyber crime
25 May 2016

Banks must be much faster in raising the alarm when they find cyber thieves have tried to steal money via the Swift network, the main provider of cross-border bank payment messages said on Friday.

Swift is becoming increasingly frustrated at the reluctance of banks to share information after finding they have been infiltrated by cyber thieves who steal money by gaining access to the global payments network.

“The security of our global financial community can only be ensured through a collaborative approach among Swift, its users, its central bank overseers and third party suppliers,” the Belgium-based network said in a message to its 11,000 banking customers.

 “Swift is fully committed to leading the community effort,” it said. “To this end, it is essential that you share critical security information related to Swift with us.”

The non-profit co-operative, which processes 25m messages a day for billions of dollars’ worth of transfers, has faced concern about its vulnerability after cyber criminals made off with almost $100m from the Bangladesh central bank in February.

Swift’s message to clients on Friday reminded them of their obligation to immediately inform it of any fraudulent use of their connection to the Swift system. “Your organisation’s role in this effort is critical,” it said.

Officials at Swift are frustrated that it is often months before they learn of cyber attacks involving their network. It was weeks before Bangladesh central bank informed Swift of what was a record cyber robbery.

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