BAE Systems joins SWIFT to fight financial cyber attacks

Firms call on financial services industry to work together to fend off cyber threats

BAE Systems' threat intelligence group has joined forces with SWIFT's customer security intelligence team, following its successful management of an attack on Bangladesh Bank in February.

Its director of cyber services, James Hatch, said the organisation decided to join SWIFT because it feels cyber attacks on the financial industry need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

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"The inevitable criminal focus on the heart of the financial system means that the financial services industry needs to ensure it has effective cyber defences against well-funded, motivated and organised attackers," Hatch said. "It is vital that the industry works together to defend systems and networks and we are pleased to be working with SWIFT to help protect the mutual trust on which the financial system depends."

He added: "The convergence of cyber threats with fraudulent activities has seen an increase in the velocity of attacks and a greater sophistication in exposing weaknesses in the financial services industry, where BAE Systems has a strong track record of providing rapid insights, advice, and solutions."

BAE Systems' newly formed Customer Security Intelligence team will work alongside SWIFT's in-house cybersecurity experts, who currently share information with financial institutions to ensure they can prevent or manage attacks when they are launched.

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SWIFT uses forensic investigations alongside the customer's own investigations, resulting in more effective outcomes and intelligence that can then be used to safeguard against future attacks on other companies.

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"Customer intelligence, including intelligence related to attacks that have ultimately failed, is crucial to helping us continue protecting our community," SWIFT CTO Craig Young said. "Information we have already received from impacted banks has allowed us to identify new malware and to publish related indicators of compromise (IoCs) which are helping to protect the wider community.

"An important dependency of this initiative is SWIFT's timely receipt of information from affected customers. We therefore continue to remind customers that they are obliged to inform SWIFT of such incidents as soon as possible, and to proactively share all relevant information with us so we can assist all SWIFT users."

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