According to Russian officials, 339,5 million roubles (or $6 million USD), were stolen from a Russian central bank last year by unknown so far hackers who used the SWIFT international payments system as their “escape boat”.
A central bank spokesman said that the hackers had taken control of a computer at a Russian bank and used the SWIFT system to transfer the money to their own accounts. Artem Sychev, deputy head of the central bank’s security department, quoted that this was “a common scheme”.
A spokeswoman for SWIFT, whose messaging system is used to transfer trillions of dollars each day, said the company does not comment on specific entities.
“When a case of potential fraud is reported to us, we offer our assistance to the affected user to help secure its environment,” said the spokeswoman, Natasha de Teran.
In December, hackers tried to steal 55 million roubles from Russian state bank Globex using the SWIFT system, and digital thieves made off with $81 million from Bangladesh Bank in February 2016. India’s City Union Bank Ltd said on Saturday it had suffered three “fraudulent remittances” of nearly $2 million USD that had been pushed through the SWIFT financial platform.
SWIFT has declined to disclose the number of attacks or identify any victims, but details on some cases have become public, including attacks on Taiwan’s Far Eastern International Bank and Nepal’s NIC Asia Bank.
As traditional banking and monetary systems fail, the urge to enter blockchain based monetary platforms grows rapidly. Governmental regulations, listings in major exchange markets and financial institutions, bring cryptocurrencies closer to the surface day by day.
Could SWIFT level up to the present “mode” or it’s really a problem of the banks?, as Brussels-based SWIFT says its own systems have never been compromised by hackers although they said late last year digital heists were becoming increasingly prominent as hackers use more sophisticated tools and techniques to launch new attacks.