Following disclosure of $81 million being stolen from its customers, payment transfer network SWIFT has not ruled out the possibility of losing even more money.
A SWIFT Hack
SWIFT, a network which banks use to arrange and authorize payments between them, is currently requiring customers to install mandatory security updates to combat the threat.
The company went public this week with news that hackers manipulated its software to falsify transaction information related to the Bangladesh Central Bank account at the US Federal Reserve.
UK Security firm BAE Systems outlined compromises to SWIFT’s software, but has yet to explain how hackers perpetrated their attack. Out of an initial theft of $1 billion in February, the majority of transactions were cancelled after suspicions were raised – by a typo. Resignations at the Bangladesh Bank followed, but the threat to SWIFT remains.
“Customers should do their utmost to protect against this,” Natasha Deteran, a spokesperson for SWIFT, said in an email to Reuters. She added that the security update was intended to make it more difficult for SWIFT’s Alliance transaction recording software to be manipulated.
“We have made the Alliance interface software update mandatory as it is designed to help banks identify situations in which attackers have attempted to hide their traces – whether these actions have been executed manually or through malware,” she wrote.
In the aftermath of the attack being made public, commentators appear principally concerned by the likelihood of further attempts at repeating the heist.
“After the Bangladesh Bank heist became public, every other attacker out there is looking to see if they can do the same,” Justin Harvey, chief security officer with Fidelis Cybersecurity, told British newspaper The Guardian today.
His comments were echoed in discussion channels, with a popular comment on a Reddit thread devoted to the events reading, “TL;DR: More hackers are coming.”
Bangladesh’s Few Alternatives
Bangladesh was one of the few countries to state it would criminalize Bitcoin in 2014. Bangladesh Bank itself released a statement at the time, stating that “Any transaction through Bitcoin or any other crypto currency is a punishable offense.”
The Bitcoin Foundation Bangladesh ceased providing any content related to Bitcoin or cryptocurrency thereafter, and to date still carries the message:
Based on information we have received from Bangladesh Banks cautionary notice and while we examine the legal situation of Bitcoin in Bangladesh, we have temporarily suspended the operation of our web site. We respect our countries specific laws regarding this issue and oblige thereby.
Could Bitcoin provide a more secure alternative for SWIFT customer due to its decentralized structure? Let us know in the comments section below!