NSA monitoring money transfers among global banks, documents

Hackers released documents and files on Friday that cybersecurity experts said indicated the US National Security Agency had accessed the SWIFT interbank messaging system, allowing it to monitor money flows among some Middle Eastern and Latin American banks.

The release included computer code that could be adapted by criminals to break into SWIFT servers and monitor messaging activity, said Shane Shook, a cyber security consultant who has helped banks investigate breaches of their SWIFT systems.

The documents and files were released by a group calling themselves The Shadow Brokers. Some of the records bear NSA seals, but Reuters could not confirm their authenticity.

Shook said criminal hackers could use the information released on Friday to hack into banks and steal money in operations mimicking a heist last year of 81 million US dollars from the Bangladesh central bank.

“The release of these capabilities could enable fraud like we saw at Bangladesh Bank,” Shook said.

The SWIFT messaging system is used by banks to transfer trillions of dollars each day.