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A surge in reported cyber heists via SWIFT

In the last few days, a number of successful cyber-attacks targeting financial institutions have been disclosed. Approximately USD 8 million were stolen from Russian and Indian banks by hackers, who transferred the funds overseas via the SWIFT financial platform.

The most recent hack was reported on last Saturday by India’s City Union Bank, after it discovered unauthorized remittances sent to accounts in Dubai, Turkey and China. The total amount transferred was nearly of USD 2 million in three different remittances. Thus far, the bank managed to trace and block two remittances worth nearly USD 900,000.

Just one day earlier, the Russian central bank disclosed that USD 6 million were stolen from a Russian bank during last year. According to a report on digital thefts in the Russian banking sector, this recent heist was preceded by other successful attempts.

Prior to these attacks, during the last quarter of 2017, Taiwan’s Far Eastern International Bank was hacked for roughly USD 60 million and USD 4.4 million were stolen from Nepal’s NIC Asia Bank. At least in the latter case, the bank’s SWIFT server was compromised by hackers.

As cyber heists become more prevalent due to hackers’ growing sophistication and new techniques used to conduct such attacks, banks are urged to bolster their security, which places the sector amongst the key areas of focus for 2018.

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