The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) offers a messaging service for global financial institutions to send and receive instructions and details about financial transactions in a secure manner. After the $81 million heist that took place in February 2016 in Central Bank of Bangladesh, when cybercriminals were able to gain access of the bank’s SWIFT terminal, SWIFT developed numerous programs and services to prevent security breaches and ensure the global banking system is not just secure, but also compliant with the programs.
Security Issues in the Global Banking System
A global security report published in 2017 by Trustwave had found that finance and insurance industries are more frequently targeted by cybercriminals. In 2016, these industries alone were target of 14% of all cyber attacks. These statistics are worrying, as every day the global banking system undertakes transactions of billions of dollars.
SWIFT has maintained that customers are responsible for their own cybersecurity while the security of the industry is a shared responsibility. With banks being soft targets, it has become more essential that ever that for the banking industry to up the ante and ensure optimal cybersecurity. SWIFT has introduced measures to help the banking industry become more secure.
Cybersecurity Measures Introduced by SWIFT
In 2017, SWIFT introduced the Customer Security Program, which is designed to bolster the security of the global financial system by helping SWIFT customers combat cyber crimes and fraud.
It has also become mandatory for SWIFT customers to assess their systems and network against the 16 mandatory controls, which are collectively known as SWIFT Customer Security Control Framework. After performing an assessment, SWIFT customers need to submit an annual report to confirm that they comply with the 16 framework controls.
SWIFT has also started inspections of banking environments of their customers to ensure they comply with the requirements stipulated by the Customer Security Control Framework. If a customer does not comply with these standards, they will be reported to their local supervisors and authorities. Just a disclosure can undermine the trust and faith customers repose in the organization.
Under these circumstances, it has become more important than ever for banking institutions to opt for SWIFT assessment security services.
What are SWIFT Assessment Security Services?
The SWIFT assessment security services work within the framework laid down by SWIFT. The service provider minutely analyzes the local environment of the customer against the 16 mandatory controls that make up the SWIFT Customer Security Control Framework to pinpoint gaps in the security measures. Thereafter the service provides remediation to close those loopholes to make the banking system more secure and ensure cybercriminals cannot find a doorway into the system to perpetrate fraud or crime.
After the corrective measures are introduced, the SWIFT assessment security provider then issues an attestation that the organization can submit to SWIFT to demonstrate and show its compliance.
The Bottom Line
In a digitally connected world, no organization can ignore the importance of cybersecurity, particularly banks and financial institutions involved in cross-border transactions. With SWIFT taking proactive measures to make worldwide banking system safe, organizations have to do their bit. That is why they should not disregard the value of SWIFT assessment security services. The right service provider can transform into an invaluable partner.