sb-eu logo
Story image

Securing SWIFT networks vitally important for cyber attack prevention

11 May 2018

Businesses that use the SWIFT network must comply with SWIFT’s Customer Security Programme (CSP) or face the risk of attacks.

Those attacks, which can cost both organisations and their customers money, can be prevented with a strong security posture and absolute visibility, says ForeScout. The company believes that visibility should be non-negotiable.

ForeScout CMO Steve Redman explains that SWIFT is a banking communications platform that manages most financial transfers between banks and organisations.

“The number and severity of cyber attacks targeting SWIFT networks is growing. However, attacks happen entirely through the customer enterprise, as opposed to the infrastructure that SWIFT owns and operates, putting the onus for security squarely on banks and businesses,” he says.

The SWIFT Customer Security Programme (CSP) is designed to drive security improvement and transparency for the world’s financial community, and also to help customers prevent cyber fraud.

“SWIFT hacks happen when cybercriminals get in between the customer’s network and the SWIFT network. There, they can change or reroute messages and even currency, making a successful SWIFT hack highly lucrative for cybercriminals,” Redman continues.

“It is therefore absolutely critical to gain 100 per cent visibility into all SWIFT components. 99.999999%  isn’t good enough. From clients and servers to gateway devices and network fabric, no part of the network should remain invisible. Many of these devices can’t or shouldn’t run agents but that shouldn’t prevent customers from gaining visibility into them. They simply need to run an agentless solution to get that visibility. Anything left unseen is a potential attack vector.”

ForeScout says the CSP provides a common set of security standards and requirements, not just a technology solution. It includes three key objectives: secure the environment; know and limit access; and detect and respond to threats. 

There are also eight principles that govern the CSP:

1.  Restrict internet access 2.  Protect critical systems from the general IT environment 3.  Reduce attack surface and vulnerabilities.  4.  Physically secure the environment 5.  Prevent compromise of credentials 6.  Manage identities and segregate privileges 7.  Detect anomalous activity 8.  Plan for incident response and information sharing

“It’s also essential to understand the context and severity of risks and potential consequences so the customer can take intelligent action to mitigate that risk. Customers need to be able to control how risks are dealt with so the entire system doesn’t come to a stop just because someone forgot their password, for example,” Redman says.

“There is no silver bullet to prevent SWIFT attacks but organisations can make themselves very unattractive targets by hardening their security and gaining that complete visibility,” he concludes.

Story image
Strong cybersecurity posture crucial for company success - Fortinet
"They should also conduct due diligence to ensure partners aren’t inadvertently creating vulnerabilities with insufficient cybersecurity measures."More
Story image
ESET launches the latest version of its Mobile Security solution
“With this latest version of ESET Mobile Security, we want to ensure our users feel completely secure when performing financial transactions on their devices, in addition to being protected from malware and phishing attempts."More
Story image
High-tech heist: why fending off ransomware attacks is more challenging than ever in 2020
The COVID-19 crisis has unleashed a wave of sophisticated and disruptive ransomware attacks, and the onus is on businesses to ramp up their security measures if they’re to avoid falling victim, writes Attivo Networks regional director for A/NZ Jim Cook.More
Story image
Why it’s essential to re-write IT security for the cloud era
Key components of network security architecture for the cloud era should be built from the ground up, as opposed to being bolted on to legacy solutions built for organisations functioning only on-premises or from only managed devices.More
Story image
Check Point acquires Odo Security to bolster remote security offering
The deal will integrate Odo’s remote access software with Check Point’s Inifinity architecture, bolstering the latter company’s remote security capabilities in a time where working and learning from home has become the norm, and looks to largely remain that way in the near future.More
Story image
APAC organisations struggle to find balance between digital adoption and cybersecurity
Organisations in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region are significantly concerned about security threats, but nevertheless are looking to advance operations through digital adoption.More