Transactions network threatens to cut off insecure banks

Transactions network threatens to cut off insecure banks
© Getty

Banks with weak cybersecurity may soon risk being barred from the largest financial transactions communications network. 

SWIFT Chief Executive Gottfried Leibbrandt told the Financial Times that the messaging network might consider banning member banks that do not adequately address security concerns. 


"We could say that if the immediate security around Swift is not in order we could cut you off, you shouldn't be on the network," he said. 

SWIFT is overhauling its security practices after flaws in the network were used to commit an $81 million heist against a Bangladeshi bank. Last week, SWIFT introduced new security and auditing standards, but it has not yet formally threatened to restrict access to banks that don’t shape up.

This week, the House Science Committee announced plans to look into the inadvertent involvement of the New York Fed in the heist. 

Leibbrandt acknowledged that blocking banks from using SWIFT might have unintended consequences. 

“If you do it too heavy handed you could drive people to unsafe channels,” he said.