Swift bank transfer system has suffered cyber-attacks from the time of the February heist which resulted in the loss of $81 million from the Central Bank of Bangladesh. This is according to a Swift official who also added that the attack tactics were getting more and more sophisticated.
In a letter that was seen by different media houses, Swift informed banks of the ever increasing risks to their systems. The messaging network, which processes trillions of dollars in transactions every day, has had its continuing vulnerability underscored by the evolving hacking tactics employed by hackers.
“There is a very persistent threat. It is evolving, and is becoming more complicated. From the looks of things, the problem won’t go away anytime soon,” said Swift in a letter dated November to its client Banks worldwide.
The new disclosures indicate the perpetual risk of attack that Swift is under, merely 1 year after money was stolen from a Bangladesh bank account through the New York Federal Reserve Bank. The increasing cyber threats have made regulators to call for tighter security in financial systems as the FBI continues to investigate.
Banks that use the Swift network, of which among them are central Banks as well as commercial banks have all been targeted a significant number of times. 20 percent of these attacks have resulted in stolen funds from the time of the Bangladesh theft.
Swift, which is a cooperative owned by it user banks and is based in Belgium, had recently said three of its users had been hacked from February. These three hacks, however, did not result in loss of funds.
Swift’s letters to customers carried a warning about3 the increasing sophistication wit which hacker were attacking banning systems. One if the latest methods of attack, according to the letter, involved the use of software meant to allow technicians to access banking systems for the purpose of technical support.
“There is, unfortunately, continued occurrences in which our customers’ environments are facing vulnerability” to these thieves who send false payment requests using the Swift network such as the message used to steal Bangladesh funs.
On Monday, a top police investigator revealed that there was some involvement by Bangladesh central Bank officials. It was found that they deliberately compromised the system to allow the hackers access to the system. The investigator however declined to name the said officials.
There were no comment made by the Bangladeshi Central Bank on the matter, although it has been confirmed that arrests will soon be made.