SWIFT, also known as the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, revealed that banks with weak security systems have been compromised by hackers after the US$81 million Bangladesh Bank heist in February. The organization disclosed in a private letter to customers that hackers from the Bangladesh Bank heist targeted banks with “lax security procedures” to successfully compromise user funds through sophisticated malware and hacking methods.
"Customers’ environments have been compromised, and subsequent attempts (were) made to send fraudulent payment instructions," read the private letter obtained by Reuters. "The threat is persistent, adaptive and sophisticated - and it is here to stay."
After a substantial number of major banks were successfully penetrated by unknown hackers, SWIFT requested all of its member banks to ensure their security protocols and measures were up to par with global financial security standards. SWIFT particularly asked banks to tighten their authentication security systems to prevent user funds from being compromised.
Serious Security Issue
The serious issue behind the statement of SWIFT is how major banks delayed the implementation and distribution of security systems to protect user funds. According to the private letter released by SWIFT, banks failed to deal with similar hacking methods utilized to steal funds from the Bangladesh Bank in February. That means, even after observing a US$81 million bank heist, large banks and financial institutions didn’t comply with international security standards and didn’t implement new security measures.
For instance, when BitFinex was breached and US$70 million of user funds were compromised, other major exchanges like Kraken and Bitstamp reviewed their security systems and ensured that its users implementation of the multi-signature technology was secure. However, when a multi-billion dollar bank was hit by a security breach, global banks simply ignored the case and refused to review their security systems.
The letter from SWIFT demonstrates the security standards of banks around the world. Hundreds of millions of cash is being stolen yearly and banks still fail to implement the necessary security measures to protect its customers.
Considering the “lax” security systems of banks, perhaps people should consider protecting their wealth and money in an unbreachable and unhackable financial network like Bitcoin.