SWIFT: Fighting Institutional Fraud in the New Normal

Combating fraud is one of the most challenging aspects of the modern financial ecosystem, especially in times of crisis. When the world goes through a period of instability or rapid change, as is the case today with the COVID-19 pandemic, cybercriminals are ready and waiting to exploit uncertainty and find gaps in normally hard-edged security frameworks.

One major type of fraud that is especially challenging is institutional payments fraud, where cybercriminals try to gain illicit access to an institution’s systems and steal large sums undetected. The current pandemic has led to extraordinary working conditions. Employees have had to stay away from their secure office environments and work remotely, mostly from their own homes, and organisations have had to adapt front and back office processes to ensure business continuity, potentially accepting additional security risks. A recent study by Kaspersky, for example, found that while a number of South Africans are working from home, 67.6% have not received any cybersecurity guidelines from their employers.

“With organisations moving swiftly to enable employees to work remotely, and millions of civilians facing additional financial pressure for a number of COVID-related reasons – such as South Africa’s national lockdown affecting many businesses – cybercrime has been steadily on the rise in Africa. To support organisations with their fight against institutional fraud, we have created a fraud e-book that sets out basic defences, counter measures and best practices,” says Olivier Lens, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, SWIFT.

The SWIFT e-book details the challenges financial institutions face in protecting themselves against payments fraud, the attack patterns and behaviour profiles SWIFT has identified through its security programmes, and the tools, practices and working culture that institutions should employ to stay secure during times of change or uncertainty – and is available to download for free.

Download the SWIFT e-book now to gain insight into:

  • Fighting institutional payments fraud in the new normal
  • Understanding the attackers – tactics, techniques and processes
  • How to continue to build a cyber-aware culture across your organisation
  • Why collaboration is key and how to review your processes in light of evolving threats
  • How to automatically identify and stop uncharacteristic payments by implementing payment security controls

SWIFT’s Customer Security Programme (CSP), launched in 2016, improves information sharing throughout the SWIFT community, enhances SWIFT-related tools for customers and provides a set of cybersecurity controls which helps users strengthen end-point security and combat cyber fraud.. As part of this framework, SWIFT published an updated Customer Security Controls Framework (CSCF) – v2020 – last year, which sets a security baseline for all SWIFT users.