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MAS urges financial institutions to remain vigilant against cybersecurity threats

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued an advisory to remind financial institutions to remain vigilant against cybersecurity threats, following recent reports of cyber incidents overseas.

Malaysia’s central bank last week revealed it had foiled attempts by attackers who sent fraudulent messages to transfer funds via the SWIFT transactions platform.

Bank Negara Malaysia said no funds were lost in the incident.

“The recent cyber incidents present yet another reminder of the constant cyber threats to our financial sector,” says Tan Yeow Seng, MAS’ chief cybersecurity officer. “It is important for all financial institutions to be vigilant.”

“MAS has been working with financial institutions in Singapore on a number of initiatives to continuously deepen the sector’s cyber capabilities, taking into account the rapidly changing cyber threat landscape,” he adds.

In its advisory, MAS urged financial institutions to continue to strengthen measures to safeguard against cyber threats.

These measures include implementing a layered security approach to protect IT environment and appropriate measures to secure SWIFT payment terminals, as well as employing strong access controls to restrict the usage of administrator-level system accounts on SWIFT servers.

In addition, MAS says financial institutions should perform payment reconciliation and monitoring of SWIFT messages to detect any fraudulent payments in a timely manner.

The central bank says it regularly assesses financial institutions’ cyber resilience through its supervisory programmes, and steps in when it identifies areas of potential vulnerabilities.

The financial institution will then be required to develop a remedial plan to rectify the gaps.

“MAS will continue to work with our financial institutions and industry partners to enhance the financial sector’s cyber resilience,” it says in a statement on Friday.

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