Cyberattacks pose real threat to financial sector

Manama: Cyberattacks pose a real threat to the banking and financial sector’s operations and there is a need to step up the security measures, says a Central Bank of Bahrain official.

“The increasing instances of cyberattacks in the payment industry has exposed possible shortcomings in the banks’ local security environment, thereby highlighting the need for collaboration among financial institutes to fight against such threats,” Yousef Al Fadhel (Bahrain SWIFT User Group Chairperson and Director of Information Technology at (CBB), said.

The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) organized a workshop for the Kingdom of Bahrain’s SWIFT User Group community at its premises and the purpose of the workshop was to inform participants about SWIFT’s release of a set of core security controls. The 90-odd participants from Bahrain’s SWIFT member banks included Security officers, IT managers and Operations managers.

“Although SWIFT customers are individually responsible for data security within their own environments, security of the payment systems industry as a whole is considered as a shared responsibility,” he added.

Bassam Khalifa, Senior Account Director Middle East at SWIFT, presented the SWIFT’s Customer Security Program (CSP). The focus was on imparting information about SWIFT’s release of a set of core security controls that will become mandatory for all SWIFT customers. The workshop agenda was tailored to cover cyber-related wire fraud, by raising awareness about detecting and if possible, preventing fraudulent use of the SWIFT infrastructure. Emphasis was also laid on isolating the SWIFT network, restricting user access and the process of detecting and responding to security incidents, apart from the benefits of the payments tracing tool that provides better visibility on payment status.

As part of its implementation strategy, SWIFT requires its members to provide detailed self-attestation against the mandatory controls from Q2 2017, whereas enforcement of mandatory requirements are scheduled to start from January 2018.

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