SWIFT reports new hacker attack

Washington, May 13

Hackers have attacked a bank by gaining access to the world’s largest financial messaging system, used to move billions of dollars a day, in a second raid months after a multi-million dollar heist at the Bangladesh central bank, US media reported on Thursday.

The attack into internal bank systems involving SWIFT — the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication — shows evidence of a wide-ranging attempt to gain access to the system, the network said in a statement due to be released today, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported.

SWIFT is crucial to the global financial system. The network, which runs international messaging system between banks, said the malware attack targeted a commercial bank it declined to name and managed to send SWIFT messages using the bank’s valid codes, media reported.

The attack involves parts of the financial system previously believed to be highly secure.

“In both cases, the core messaging system of Swift was not breached,” the Times reported, “Rather, the criminals attacked the banks’ connections to the SWIFT network.”

The news follows the theft in February of $81 million from Bangladesh’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which was made to move funds to accounts in the Philippines.

Investigators are still trying to solve the breach.

In a letter SWIFT is expected to send to its users today, it will reportedly say the two attacks shared many similarities and showed the attackers ‘clearly exhibit a deep and sophisticated knowledge of specific operation controls within targeted banks’.