SWIFT examines recent trends in cyber threats

By Robert Magee, AusPayNet - 27 May 2019

SWIFT has recently published a report titled Three years on from Bangladesh - Tackling the adversaries

In the report, SWIFT examines the trends it has observed over the course of 2018 and 2019, showcasing how both business and security information can utilise tell-tale signs, and become key in detecting and responding to attempted attacks.

The report talks about cyber attackers preferred targets and methods, and what patterns can be identified. Noting the critical importance of industry participants and their security partners understanding how the attackers have evolved – and how quickly they can adapt their attack patterns to avoid detection, the report aims to help customers in this endeavour.

Message types and currencies typically used by cyber attackers are also discussed; USD accounts for the majority of cross-border traffic and incidents, with the ‘Single Customer Credit Transfer’ or MT103 message type most commonly used by attackers.

SWIFT also mentions the new capability (the “Payments Control Service”) they have developed to allow members to detect and stop potentially fraudulent transactions at the network level.

The report concludes that the global financial community has seen a continued evolution in the cyber threat since 2016, with financial institutions facing attacks of increasing levels of sophistication;

In responding to this challenge, SWIFT will continue to promote robust cyber security standards, seek security enhancing innovations, and work to increase the scope and quality of threat intelligence sharing.

The industry should continuously increase the strength and diversity of its defences and ensure it understands the nature of the changing threat. This means being proactive in limiting criminal opportunities linked to systems and business practices, it means ensuring proper preparedness and understanding counterparty cyber risk.

Read the full report here.