Securing systems and data is one of the most important responsibilities of any business, but if that business involves the transfer of huge amounts of clients’ money every day, then doing so isn’t just best practice, it’s an absolute necessity.

For banks and financial institutions that use SWIFT messages, which handle trillions of dollars worth of transfers every single day, the need for secure information is even greater. That’s why the decision to offer banks a way to monitor their SWIFT transactions and spot any erratic behavior that could lead to serious problems is very welcome.

In February, SWIFT, the Belgium-based inter-bank messaging network, was subject to a high-profile and deeply worrying attack that saw hackers steal $81 million from Bangladesh’s central bank. This attack followed a $12 million theft at a Colombian bank last year in which the hackers were able to cover their tracks by deleting records of fraudulent SWIFT messages they sent from the banks’ terminals.

Introduction of Daily Validation Reports

To combat these attacks, SWIFT will begin sending “Daily Validation Reports” to all its clients. These reports will list all SWIFT messages sent from a client’s terminal, allowing banks to identify any fraudulent records on their own systems. The daily reports, which will begin rolling out to clients in December, will also include a risk report aimed at showing whether transfer instructions deviated from the client’s typical payment patterns.

Vulnerabilities in any enterprise’s systems — be it retail, government or healthcare — are a significant threat when they are unknown, as hackers who uncover them can exploit them undetected. And if those same vulnerabilities are left unpatched after being discovered, they can continue to impact the way a business is perceived by its customers.

When it comes to cyberattacks on your business, it’s more a question of when, rather than if, you’ll be attacked. Therefore, it’s imperative that businesses take responsibility for any breach and actively address their security shortfalls as quickly as possible.

In recent years, SWIFT, which is controlled and operated by the biggest banks in the world, has been seen as slow to react to growing online threats to their network. By addressing this issue in a timely manner, the network is taking a positive step to recognize the concerns of its clients at a time when cybersecurity is increasingly important.

Research has shown that the financial sector is especially vulnerable to cyberattacks. Here are some steps you can take to ensure your business is protected.

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David Gilbert

David Gilbert specializes in covering the global smartphone industry and the dangerous world of cybercrime. David previously served as European technology editor at the International Business Times, and as Technology Editor for the UK edition of IBTimes for over three-and-a-half years, where he earned the prestigious Digital Writer of the Year award at the Online Media Awards in 2013.

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