Swift hopes daily reporting will help stem payment fraud

But the reports will arrive up to a day after the payments were made, leaving criminals with a window of opportunity

Swift is introducing a new reporting system to help banks identify fraudulent payments made over its financial transfer network -- but the reports will arrive up to a day too late to stop them.

Over the last year, cybercriminals have hacked systems at a number of banks, using their credentials to issue fraudulent payment instructions over the Swift network. Swift's network wasn't comprimised, but because genuine credentials were used on authorized bank terminals, no alarms were raised until some time after the transfers were made, leaving victims struggling to recover their funds from the destination accounts.

From December, Swift will send banks a Daily Validation Report, summarizing activity across currencies, countries and counterparts (destination banks), and also highlighting large or unusual payments and new combinations of payment parties. Banks can then reconcile details of such payments with their own records of the transfers they intended to make. Any discrepancies would provide warning of fraudulent activity, increasing banks' chances of cancelling the transfers.

But critics might say the report is just a way to shut the stable door a little sooner after the horse has bolted. Criminals timing their illicit transfers for just after Swift generates its daily reports could have a whole day to empty the destination account and make off with the proceeds.

In the attack on Bangladesh Bank disclosed in February, thieves initially sought to transfer $951 million, and ultimately got away with $81 million of that. The other transfers were blocked or cancelled, or the funds returned.

Swift plans to send the summaries via a different channel to the one used to make payments. That way, if criminals have compromised a bank's Swift terminal to the point where they can hide locally generated reconciliation records, they will not also be able to intercept and tamper with the validation report.

That, security researchers said in April, was what the Bangladesh Bank attackers tried to do with some custom malware. In May, Swift said attackers had sought to cover up their actions in a similar way at a second of its customers, widely believed to be a commercial bank in Vietnam.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?