SWIFT warns banks on cyber thefts as hacking technology sophistication grows

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Swift, the global messaging system used to move trillions of dollars internationally, has warned banks on the rise of threat for digital heists with smarter and smoother tools and techniques. Banks have been informed to push for better security for transfers since the 2016 Bangladesh Bank loss of USD $81Million. The number of attacks were not disclosed, nor the victims and amounts. Far Eastern International Bank was robbed by North Korean hacking group known as Lazarus which was also believed to be the perpetrators behind the Bangladesh case. Nepal’s NIC Asia Bank was also targeted just earlier this month.

Months are spent by Hackers to observe and collect information from one customer for necessary credentials after which they will launch an attack in the middle of the night with additional malware to bypass protocols. Money is transferred to banks in other countries by pre-formatted requests in messaging software from the additional malware. The whole process takes about 3 hours and track records/activity logs are deleted whilst security teams are distracted by diverting their attention to several other computers with a virus attack.