I've held off reporting about this particular item because I was hoping that some significant measures might be taken internationally, through the regulatory authorities and the central banks who participate in the system. Sadly, nothing of any substance has been changed and focus deflected away from the problem.
You can no longer trust the integrity of the SWIFT bank instrument transfer network. It is easily hacked, has been hacked, is technologically archaic and is subject (as it always has been) to certain internal opportunists who trade on the information which they see coming across the wires, or delay the transmittal required for the execution of orders and the conveyances of cash and financial instruments.
Avoid SWIFT if you can. If you cannot get a third party guarantor (FCIA, OPIC or some other credit or data integrity insurance agency) to directly vouchsafe your transaction, be certain to get every single official's name, email address, physical address and direct telephone number [in addition to all of the wireroom and account number information] on both sides (or on all sides if there is a re-transmittal or re-wiring to a third destination) so that you may get verification of each phase of the transaction.
An article extract follows for your interest.
- Hacker attacks on financial networks at all-time high, SWIFT says
SWIFT, the operator of the world's largest network carrying financial transaction data, said it is confronted by an unprecedented level of attacks on its system by hackers. "Never has cyberterrorism and cyberactivity been such a threat," said Yawar Shah, chairman of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. Get the latest on technology topics, such as cybersecurity, and the top industry trends affecting your business at SIFMA's Financial Services Technology Leaders Forum and Expo. Register today. Securities Technology Monitor
The key is to have as much information as possible regarding those who will be handling your transaction, and to keep them aware, by numerous calls and verifications, that you are watching them closely.
Also, try to deal to the greatest extent possible with banks that have their own in-house SWIFT capability to minimize the number of steps (and opportunities for error) required in order to successfully complete your transaction. It is an old-school intelligence policy to have one of your trusted representatives at the sending destination bank, and one waiting at the receiving destination bank.
This is truly one of those cases where you mitigate your risk of loss by having the right persons physically present.
Douglas E Castle for The InfoSphere Business Alerts And Intelligence Blog, and The Internationalist Page Blog.
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