The Swift bank logo is pictured in this photo illustration taken April 26, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
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More than a dozen current and former board directors and senior managers of SWIFT, the bank messaging system that helps transmit billions of dollars around the world every day, have told Reuters the organization for years suspected there were weaknesses in the way smaller banks used its messaging terminals – but did not address such vulnerabilities.SWIFT never acted, former board member Arthur Cousins said, because the organization believed bank regulators – rather than SWIFT – were responsible for ensuring smaller banks' security procedures were robust enough to repel hackers.SWIFT was, and still is, dominated by large Western banks, including Citibank, JP MORGAN, Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas, that built the network decades ago.Alessandro Lanteri, a former executive with Italian bank Unicredit who served on SWIFT's board between 1995 and 2000, said security challenges increased when smaller banks in emerging markets joined the SWIFT network.The organization's revenues, which hit 710 million euros last year, are driven by a concentrated number of large Western correspondent banks like Citigroup and HSBC, former SWIFT staff said.SWIFT officials said the banks involved in these three cases did not immediately inform it of the incidents, though the banks did confirm them later.
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