Interbank messaging service SWIFT launches new tool to prevent fraud

Interbank messaging service SWIFT launches new tool to prevent fraud
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SWIFT, the secure messaging service used to make money transfers between banks throughout the world, is launching a new tool to prevent fraudulent messages.

The new fraud-prevention tool is a “direct response to our community’s request for additional services to complement and strengthen existing fraud controls,” Yawar Shah, the company’s chairman, said in a statement Wednesday.

SWIFT, which is based in Belgium, has come under scrutiny after criminals hacked the messaging service last year and exploited it to steal $81 million from Bangladesh Bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The company said Wednesday that its new payment controls service will allow customers to screen their payment messages based on their chosen parameters in order to detect any unusual message flows.

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The service will “red flag” customers on out-of-policy payment messages or any potentially risky activity, spot unusual messaging patterns and provides customers with real-time alerts, the company said.

The new tool is part of SWIFT’s customer security program launched last May, months after thieves used the interbank messaging service to steal millions from Bangladesh Bank.

SWIFT introduced a security tool last September to strengthen fraud controls, giving customers a summary of their message flows to detect any unusual activity.

Reuters reported last year that SWIFT sent a letter to bank customers worldwide in November warning of increasingly sophisticated threats to their systems.

“Combatting fraud and cyber-crime is a top priority for SWIFT and its customers,” Luc Meurant, the company’s head of financial crime compliance services, said Wednesday. “Our new payment controls service is an important step in delivering a full suite of hosted offerings that address our customers’ needs in the fraud and cyber-crime prevention areas.”