Daily reports to clients will soon be part of the SWIFT interbank messaging system — as the international payments network is working double time to ensure its client-members are able to spot unauthorized payments as quickly as possible. These changes come in the aftermath of both a massive Southeast Asian breach that started out the year and the run of smaller attempts on the system that have been sprouting up like weeds ever since.
Each day, the SWIFT messaging system allows for trillions of payments to go through around the world — a fact that thieves made use of quite well earlier this year when they hacked Bangladesh’s central bank for $81 million with the help of forged SWIFT messages. A Colombian bank was hit for $12 million last year.
SWIFT said in a statement today (Sept. 20) that, starting in December, it would begin sending “Daily Validation Reports” to clients. Those reports will list messages sent from the client’s SWIFT terminal, thus allowing a bank to spot any payment instructions that it had not intended to send. The reports will also come with a risk report that is intended to spot deviations from the banks’ normal pattern of money transfers.
In both of this year’s seven-figure hacks, the thefts were not discovered until days after, since the cybercriminals took advantage of the fact that banks are closed on weekends.
The Belgium-based organization, a co-operative controlled by the biggest global banks, has been accused of being slow to react to growing security risks in recent years. Recent months, however, have seen the organization attempt to step up the level of its game — with a new “Customer Security Program” and a focus on helping clients, particularly smaller banks, to avoid becoming the victims of hacking.