In response to the recent Bangladesh heist, which cybercriminals used international financial telecommunication system, SWIFT, to steal $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank, U.S. regulators have asked banks to review their current cyber-security protections against fraudulent money transfers. This notice comes two weeks after the FBI privately encouraged banks to look for signs of possible past and current cyber-attacks. These notices suggest that the U.S. Government and law enforcement agencies are worried that cyber-attacks on “emerging-market economies” could result in huge losses for U.S. firms that rely on SWIFT, which serves as the “backbone of international finance.”
Similar but smaller cases have surfaced since the Bangladesh Bank disclosed its heist in March. These cases include a $12 million theft in Ecuador, an attack on a Vietnam Bank and a third on an unidentified bank in the Philippines. Concerns about cyber threats to banks have grown exponentially and experts predict the unknown hacker group will only launch more attacks. “There is a hacker group out there that is polished and practiced. They know when they target a bank, they get in and get out and the attack will work,” said Dan Guido, chief executive of cybersecurity firm Trail of Bits and former member of the security team for the U.S. Federal Reserve System. While experts also claim that these warnings will have little impact because they are “simply repeating previous recommendations,” we could potentially see a tightening of security regulations in the near future.