The Monetary Authority of Singapore has issued an advisory to remind financial institutions to strengthen their cybersecurity measures, following reports of cyber incidents overseas where attackers attempted fraudulent fund transfers using the SWIFT system.
SWIFT is one of the largest financial messaging systems in the world, and is used by banks and other financial institutions to quickly, accurately, and securely send and receive information such as money transfer instructions.
The advisory reminds financial institutions to continue to strengthen measures to safeguard themselves in the following areas:
- Implement a layered security approach to protect IT environment as well as appropriate measures to secure SWIFT payment terminals.
- Employ strong access controls to restrict the usage of administrator-level system accounts on SWIFT servers.
- Perform payment reconciliation/monitoring of SWIFT messages to detect any fraudulent payments in a timely manner.
MAS’ Chief Cyber Security Officer Tan Yeow Seng said, “The recent cyber incidents present yet another reminder of the constant cyber threats to our financial sector. It is important for all financial institutions to be vigilant.”
The cyber resilience of Singapore’s financial institutions are assessed through the MAS’ supervisory programmes. Where there are areas of potential vulnerabilities, the regulator requires the financial institution to develop a remedial plan and will monitor the financial institution’s rectification of such gaps.