RISK: Hacking the messenger

Thieves are using an international messaging system to rob banks

As many as 27.5 million messages travel between banks around the world every day.

The messaging system, known as Swift, doesn’t transfer the money itself, but it’s where all the other details–the amount, the account number, and so on–are exchanged. After a series of hacking incidents in Ecuador and Southeast Asia, Bloomberg Businessweek is asking: is Swift safe?

Read: How hackers hack

Instead of hacking the system itself, the perpetrators mess with the endpoints. When a message comes from another bank with details about a transfer, how do you know it’s coming from someone who works for that bank? It turns out, you can’t always know. Bloomberg says banks in the developing world need to do more to meet the preventative criteria set up by Swift.

The incidents will likely force banks to ask how they will make international payments in the future. Some say it’ll take years to develop something new. Even then, the fear that hackers will find a way to take advantage of human error on the new system will remain.

Read: RISK: Canada isn’t equipped to fight cyber crime


A TC Media site,
Business Solutions

TC Media

Transcontinental Media G.P
1110 René-Lévesque Bldv W.
Montréal, QC H3B 4X9
(514) 392-9000