Belgium-based SWIFT to introduce service tracking suspicious payments

Belgium-based SWIFT to introduce service tracking suspicious payments


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SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), the Belgian-based interbank messaging system, which is used to transfer trillions of dollars between banks every day, will launch a new tool to spot fraudulent messages.

In February 2016, hackers exploited the Swift connection of the central bank of Bangladesh to request that funds be transferred from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Similar cyberattacks have hit banks in countries including Ecuador and Vietnam.

SWIFT is now developing a payment-screening service that will allow small member banks to automate the flagging of suspicious payments.

The company announced on Wednesday that it will offer clients a service that will be able to learn a user bank’s messaging patterns so that it can spot if a payment is being made to an unusual counter-party or for an unusual amount.

Swift aims to begin offering the service by early 2018. Its price will depend partly on how many banks adopt it, the cooperative said.

After initially responding to the Bangladesh hack by saying that its member banks were responsible for their own security, Swift rolled out a series of security programs and procedures over the last year, including a requirement that members share more information about security incidents. Other measures have required member banks to install new equipment or software so that all of them would have improved defenses.

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