New SWIFT with ‘Red Alert’ to prevent fraudulent banking transactions


‘As the going gets tough, the tough get going’, goes the old saying. In the wake of the infamous Bangladesh Bank attack, Swift has developed a payment control system that works on real-time app and helps prevent fraudulent messages to save customer banks and end-users from similar financial catastrophes.

The system will allow a bank customer to access the Swift service directly into their messaging flows and thus can help detect unusual patterns, and can screen them according to their customized risk and compliance policies.

Developed as a unique utility that requires no hardware or software installation or continued maintenance, the facility shall become a great boon to banks, smaller financial institutions and a country’s central or national clearing banks which are constantly under the risks of security and surveillance attacks. Swift, however, has not revealed the cost-to-consumer for this product, yet.

One of the major advantages of the new product is that, should it intercept any unusual or out-of-policy transaction message or transaction pattern, a system alert shall be immediately sent to the end-user, akin to a ‘red-flag’ game interrupt procedure.

Once installed, the warning system would have studied at length, the user’s transaction history, patterns, and would’ve developed a set profile of their message traffic based on specifics such as nature of business, routine to and fro traffic, countries and counterparts accessed, currencies traded in, usual transaction values, etc.

Just last year saw one of the worst hacking incidents in financial cyber-security history, where Bangladesh Bank lost US$81 million from the bank’s account held with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The shocking incident sent ripples of fear and concern across the international corridors of power in banking circles and exposed the extent to which crafty and fraudulent messages can play havoc with traditional banking operation systems. Whilst the Bangladesh Bank incident still remains untraced, similar upsets were reported from Ecuador and Vietnam as well.

According to the CEO of Swift, the new payment control system will ‘complement and strengthen the strict fraud control measures that have been built into the product and will “significantly enhance risk management in cross-border payments”.


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