SWIFT exec unveils info sharing plan, calls Bangladesh 'a watershed event'

In the wake of breaches, SWIFT CEO Gottfried Leibbrandt issued details of the messaging service company’s information-sharing strategy.
In the wake of breaches, SWIFT CEO Gottfried Leibbrandt issued details of the messaging service company’s information-sharing strategy.

Information sharing practices among financial institutions have gained renewed scrutiny after a series of cyberattacks that allowed hackers to steal millions from banks internationally. Following a statement last week in which the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) promised to develop a collaboration strategy, the messaging service company's CEO Gottfried Leibbrandt followed up on that promise by issuing details of that strategy.

The largest of these attacks involved the theft of $81 million from Bangladesh's central bank, which resulted in the resignation of Bangladesh Central Bank Governor Atiur Rahman in March.

Leibbrandt called the Bangladesh cybertheft a “watershed event,” speaking at an industry event in Brussels Tuesday. “There will be a before and an after Bangladesh,” he said.

SWIFT's “five part-plan” includes initiatives to improve information sharing among financial institutions, harden security requirements for its customers' software, work with banks using payment pattern controls, and establish certification requirements for third-party vendors.

Leibbrandt issued a stark warning to banks, noting that “there will be more cyber attacks," adding that "inevitably some will be successful.”

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