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SWIFT rolls out new fraud, cybercrime prevention service

SWIFT on Wednesday announced a new fraud and cybercrime prevention service for banks using its payment messaging service.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, which provides communications for cross-border financial transfers, will allow users to screen payment messages based on their own cybersecurity protocols prior to transmitting the messages. The screening service is intended to catch unusual message flows, SWIFT said in a news release on its website.

SWIFT customers will be able to access the hosted utility solution directly through its messaging system, with no hardware or software to be installed on users' systems.

The service will develop a profile of each SWIFT user's message traffic based on its specific business activities and the countries, counterparties and currencies it normally works with, SWIFT said.

The service is part of SWIFT's custom security program that was begun last year following breaches of the messaging system earlier that year. In those breaches, hackers at least twice gained access via malware, or hostile and invasive software, to the Bangladesh central bank's SWIFT payment terminals, stealing $81 million.

SWIFT said the 2016 breaches were the result of security errors at client banks and not the fault of its service, though it pledged to reinforce its own cybersecurity and provide new safeguards for its members to use.