SWIFT Network Abused Again By Internet Criminals

For the second time in a few months, the SWIFT payment network has come under attack from hackers. To make matters even worse, a different bank was involved in the process this time, and money has been stolen this time as well.

Another SWIFT Attack Targets Commercial Bank

TheMerkle_SWIFT Payment Network Breach Internet Criminals

This second attack on the SWIFT payment network targeted a commercial bank this time, rather than the central bank of Bangladesh this time. However, both attacks are very similar in approach, although the details regarding this attack are still hard to come by right now. Additionally, SWIFT has chosen not to identify the affected bank this time.

Moreover, the network giant was forced to issue a warning to all of its participants, saying how these attacks seem to be part of a “wider and highly adaptive campaign targeting banks”. These types of warnings will only lead to more speculation in the future, though, as it is apparent there is something seriously wrong with the banking system.

Banking experts aren’t convinced they will ever be able to solve the issue itself, let alone trace the attackers and recover the funds. By using legitimate network credentials, internet criminals have infiltrated the SWIFT system and initiated fraudulent transfers. Additionally, they managed to install malware on critical bank computers to obfuscate these actions.

Note from the Author: The SWIFT network is a messaging infrastructure, not a payments system, which provides users with a private international communications link among themselves. SWIFT itself was not breached, the connection between this commercial bank and the network was abused.

Obtaining these legitimate credentials can be done in a variety of ways, although it is not unlikely the criminals recruited bank personnel to aid them in these transfers. SWIFT wants to make it clear their network was not breached, but only taken advantage of through connections with participating banks.

In the end, this could be the final nail in the coffin for the banking system as we have known it for quite some time now. Banks have lost the trust of consumers; they struggle to meet demand for newer services and experiences, and their technology is inherently insecure. Something has to change, and it won’t take much longer until businesses and consumers start looking for alternative financial solutions, including Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Source: NY Times

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