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SWIFT on security: Fresh anti-bank-fraud defenses now live

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Inter-bank data comms biz SWIFT says it has introduced mechanisms to better protect money transfers from tampering.

We're told the fresh defenses will make it easier for banks to track movements of money. The payment controls are part of SWIFT's Customer Security Programme, a set of mandatory IT and physical security protections that member banks must put in place in order to use SWIFT.

SWIFT hopes the beefed-up security will help banks scan transfers between accounts and more easily spot fraudulent activity. In particular, SWIFT says, the new service will be pitched for smaller banks and credit unions that have yet to employ sophisticated fraud detection tools.

"The new payment controls service is a direct response to our community's request for additional services to complement and strengthen existing fraud controls," said chairman Yawar Shah.

Used by banks around the world, the SWIFT system allows banks to handle data transfers for money transactions. The group claims its network is used by more than 11,000 banks globally.

SWIFT was thrust into the public eye last year when it was targeted by hackers. They were able to steal login credentials for the service and use the access to pilfer accounts for tens of millions of dollars.

Following the hacks, SWIFT has faced pressure from its members to step up security protections, particularly as ex-employees have slammed the organization for lax protections that allowed the attacks to take place. ®

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