05 October 2017

Media Advisory – Building better defences by establishing a deeper understanding of cyber security threats

New SWIFT Institute research papers examine the cyber threat in financial services and how information can be disseminated via common platforms and a common terminology

This press release is also available in Spanish.

Brussels, 5 October, 2017 – The SWIFT Institute has published three new working papers, each aiming to contribute towards the establishment of better cyber defences for the financial industry. The research papers focus on enabling financial institutions to get ahead and stay ahead of their cyber adversaries by providing a better understanding of the actors involved, examining a means to effectively share threat information, and establishing common terminology to allow meaningful discussions between industry stakeholders.

As cybersecurity threats continue to grow, the financial services industry needs to understand the forces at work, identify patterns of behaviour, and create a common syntax around cybersecurity to facilitate better communication. In order to help organisations better equip themselves against cyber attacks, the SWIFT Institute issued three grants on cybersecurity; the resulting three research papers are now available:

Forces Shaping the Cyber Threat Landscape for Financial Institutions” by William A. Carter, aims to provide an understanding of the forces that shape the threat landscape in the belief that this is essential for financial institutions to get ahead and stay ahead of their adversaries in cyberspace.

The Cyber Security Ecosystem: Defining a Taxonomy of Existing, Emerging and Future Cyber Threats”, by Dr Jason Ferdinand with Richard Benham, attempts to establish a common language for cybersecurity to help all organisations deal with the cyber threats in their environment, and to enable meaningful discussion of these threats within and between organisations;

Sharing Insider Threat Indicators: Examining the Potential Use of SWIFT’s Messaging Platform to Combat Cyber Fraud”, by Elizabeth M. Petrie and Casey D. Evans, focusses on identifying the patterns of behaviour typically indicative of efforts by criminals to use insiders to cash out on fraudulent activity. The objective of this research is to enable organisations to use an existing telecommunication platform, such as SWIFT, to communicate cyber fraud threat information by establishing indicators of cash-out behaviour, which could warn of cyber fraud activity;

“As cyber threats become increasingly prevalent within the financial services industry, firms are having to step up their cyber defences,” says Peter Ware, Director of the SWIFT Institute. “It is only by collaborating as an industry that we will be in a stronger position to mitigate these threats. It is our hope to eventually build on this published research to more effectively recognise forces at play, to establish a common language, and to build tools that will identify patterns of behaviour. All this will better enable the useful dissemination of threat activity reports to the wider financial community.”

“As cyber threats become increasingly prevalent within the financial services industry, firms are having to step up their cyber defences.”

Peter Ware, Director of the SWIFT Institute

The SWIFT Institute will be showcasing the results of these working papers at Sibos 2017 in Toronto.  These sessions will be held on Tuesday, 17 October in the dedicated SWIFT Institute Room (#703) at the following times:


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