The Strategist

SWIFT reported new hacker attacks on banks

05/13/2016 - 15:52

According to SWIFT banking system of information exchange, hackers made a second cyber attack on a bank, similar to that of the Central Bank of Bangladesh’s burglary in February this year. Name of the bank was not revealed. Agitated by the increased cases of cyber-attacks on banks, the European Central Bank want to create a system for data collection and early warning of such attacks.

On Thursday, the international system of data exchange between financial institutions SWIFT reported the second major cyber-attack on a bank since the beginning of this year. As stated by SWIFT’s spokesperson Natasha de Teran, the hackers attacked a commercial bank, its name and nationality is not indicated. According to her, it is not known whether the hackers managed to steal the money, and, if so, how much.

Recall that in February of this year, hackers gained access to accounts of employees of the Central Bank of Bangladesh, and sent a series of requests for the money transfer. The funds have been debited from the Central Bank’s account in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Employees of the Federal Reserve approved some transactions to the Philippines and Sri Lanka, and more than $ 80 million went away to Philippine casinos. Only one operation caused doubts among specialists: there was a mistake in the in the word "fund" in the funds transfer instructions. Verification helped find out that the intended recipient of money in Sri Lanka does not exist. The hackers were going to steal about $ 1 billion in total.

In April, SWIFT sent notices to the 11 thousand of its customers. The organization warned that it has recorder many cases when the attackers sent fake money orders, simulating the SWIFT message. "According to experts, the new findings suggest that the used malware was not an isolated incident, but part of a broad and flexible campaign against the banks", - said SWIFT in the published statement. According to the statement, the attack demonstrated "deep and thorough knowledge of operational management" specific to banks. In SWIFT’s view, the criminals can get such information from their partners working in banks, or as a result of cyber-attacks. Combination of these two factors could be possible as well.

According to experts of BAE Systems company, which specializes in security issues, the bank attackers used software similar to that which was employed in the attack on Sony Pictures in November 2014. Then, several films not yet released in the rental got in the public domain.

On Friday, the European Central Bank (ECB) expressed its concern about the increasing incidence of cyber-attacks on banks. As deputy director of ECB Francois-Louis Michaud put it: "We want to create a data base for the cyber-attacks. It will serve as an early warning and analysis system." Banks will have to sent to the ECB information about serious threats from the Internet. The system’s test version has been launched in February. Now, there are 18 banks taking part in it. Subsequently, all the banks of the ECB will be obliged to upload data in the system. According to Mr. Michaud, European banks are constantly exposed to small cyberattacks, yet there haven’t been serious breaches so far.