A private “Flash” message has been sent to US banks by the Federal Bureau of Investigation asking them to check their systems for signs of cyber attacks.
The leaked report follows the enormous electronic robbery at the Bangladesh central bank earlier this year, in which hackers sent electronic instructions via the SWIFT network to steal $951 million. The hackers managed to withdraw $101 million via the Federal Reserve Bank of NY. Cybersecurity experts reported that the hackers had had access to the bank’s systems for several weeks before striking – and the FBI may be concerned of a similar attack on local financial institutions.
The secret FBI communication blamed a “malicious cyber group” for gaining access to the systems of multiple international banks.
"The actors have exploited vulnerabilities in the internal environments of the banks and initiated unauthorized monetary transfers over an international payment messaging system,” Reuters reported.
SWIFT has also asked its 3000+ members to review their internal security. “We reiterate that the SWIFT network itself was not breached. Our priority at this time is to investigate the interim findings and to encourage customers to review and, where necessary, to reinforce their local operating environments,” a Swift spokeswoman told the WSJ.