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SWIFT Customer Security Controls Framework

The SWIFT Customer Security Controls Framework is a set of mandatory and advisory security controls for SWIFT customers.

The mandatory security controls establish a security baseline for the entire community, and must be implemented by all users on their local SWIFT infrastructure. SWIFT has chosen to prioritise these mandatory controls to set a realistic goal for near-term, tangible security gain and risk reduction. Advisory controls are based on good practice that SWIFT recommends users to implement. Over time, mandatory controls may evolve due to the evolving threat landscape, and some advisory controls may become mandatory.

Controls are articulated around three overarching objectives: 'Secure your Environment', 'Know and Limit Access', and 'Detect and Respond'. Controls have been developed and evolved based on SWIFT's analysis of cyber threat intelligence and in conjunction with industry experts and user feedback. The control definitions are also intended to be in line with existing information security industry standards (such as NIST).

All users need to confirm full compliance with all mandatory security controls by re-attesting annually between early July and end of December. 

Each year, as from July, the KYC Security Attestation (KYC-SA) application is updated with the CSCF version in force; customers can then start to attest their level of compliance against this baseline.

Also, each year in July, SWIFT publishes the next version of the Customer Security Controls Framework (CSCF). This document includes changes to the controls (such as advisory controls being promoted to mandatory controls; addition of advisory controls; and additional clarifications). The new CSCF should be consulted to help you plan and budget for next year.

In 2020:

  • users must re-attest against CSCF v2019, between early July and end of December, affirming they are at the minimum compliant with all 19 mandatory controls. We recommend that you use the latest published CSCF version as it contains control clarifications. Before submitting your attestation, you must always do an architecture and controls reassessment, and you need to reflect any changes that have been made to your infrastructure. 
  • users that are in position to implement CSCF v2020, or are in a position to support their attestation with an independent assessment, are encouraged to do so.
  • users can still submit their attestation with a self-assessment. As from mid-2021, attestations against CSCF v2021 will need to be supported with an independent internal or external assessment.

For more information visit the document centre.

The SWIFT Customer Security Controls Framework Detailed Description is available on swift.com. Customers must log in to mySWIFT with their swift.com credentials to access the document. (swift.com > Ordering & Support > Knowledge Center > A-Z > Customer Security Programme).

SWIFT’s KYC Security Attestation application (KYC-SA) is the application for the submission of attestation data. The KYC-SA application also enables the transparent exchange of security status information with counterparties to support cyber risk management and business due diligence.

The Security Attestation support page on mySWIFT provides guidance on how to get started, understand the security controls, assess the impact for your institution, and use the KYC-SA application. The page provides easy access to the relevant information, how-to videos, training, documentation, and frequently asked questions. We recommend to check if your swift.com password is still valid to continue using the KYC-SA.

In addition, SWIFT published some product-specific Security Guidance (SG) documents. These documents provide SWIFT's minimum set of security-related recommendations and additional guidance of how the existing security features in SWIFT Messaging interfaces suite should be configured. 

Customers are encouraged to explore the new suite of SWIFTSmart training modules, which includes an overview of the SWIFT Customer Security Controls Framework and an introduction to the mandatory security controls.

CSP Security Controls
Mandatory Security Controls Control Objective

1. Restrict Internet Access and Protect Critical Systems from General IT Environment

1.1 SWIFT Environment Protection Ensure the protection of the user's local SWIFT infrastructure from potentially compromised elements of the general IT environment and external environment.

1.2 Operating System Privileged Account Control

Restrict and control the allocation and usage of administrator-level operating system accounts.

2. Reduce Attack Surface and Vulnerabilities
2.1 Internal Data Flow Security

Ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of data flows between local SWIFT-related applications and their link to the operator PC.

2.2 Security Updates Minimize the occurrence of known technical vulnerabilities within the local SWIFT infrastructure by ensuring vendor support, applying mandatory software updates, and applying timely security updates aligned to the assessed risk.
2.3 System Hardening Reduce the cyber attack surface of SWIFT-related components by performing system hardening.
2.6 Operator Session Confidentiality and Integrity Protect the confidentiality and integrity of interactive operator sessions connecting to the local SWIFT infrastructure.
2.7 Vulnerability Scanning Identify known vulnerabilities within the local SWIFT environment by implementing a regular vulnerability scanning process and act upon results.
3. Physically Secure the Environment
3.1 Physical Security Prevent unauthorised physical access to sensitive equipment, workplace environments, hosting sites, and storage.
4. Prevent Compromise of Credentials
4.1 Password Policy Ensure passwords are sufficiently resistant against common password attacks by implementing and enforcing an effective password policy.
4.2 Multi-factor Authentication Prevent that a compromise of a single authentication factor allows access into SWIFT systems, by implementing multi-factor authentication.
5. Manage Identities and Segregate Privileges
5.1 Logical Access Control Enforce the security principles of need-to-know access, least privilege, and segregation of duties for operator accounts.
5.2 Token Management Ensure the proper management, tracking, and use of connected hardware authentication tokens (if tokens are used).
5.4 Physical and Logical Password storage Protect physically and logically recorded passwords.
6. Detect Anomalous Activity to Systems or Transaction Records
6.1 Malware Protection Ensure that local SWIFT infrastructure is protected against malware.
6.2 Software Integrity Ensure the software integrity of the SWIFT-related applications.

6.3 Database Integrity

Ensure the integrity of the database records for the SWIFT messaging interface.
6.4 Logging and Monitoring Record security events and detect anomalous actions and operations within the local SWIFT environment.
7. Plan for Incident Response and Information Sharing
7.1 Cyber Incident Response Planning Ensure a consistent and effective approach for the management of cyber incidents.
7.2 Security Training and Awareness Ensure all staff are aware of and fulfil their security responsibilities by performing regular security training and awareness activities.
Advisory Security Controls Control objective
1. Restrict Internet Access & Protect Critical Systems from General IT Environment
1.3A Virtualisation Platform Protection Secure virtualisation platform and virtual machines (VM’s) hosting SWIFT related components to the same level as physical systems.
2. Reduce Attack Surface and Vulnerabilities
2.4A Back Office Data Flow Security Ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and mutual authenticity of data flows between back office (or middleware) applications and connecting SWIFT infrastructure components.

2.5A External Transmission Data Protection

Protect the confidentiality of SWIFT-related data transmitted and residing outside of the secure zone.

2.6A Operator Session Confidentiality and Integrity

Protect the confidentiality and integrity of interactive operator sessions connecting to the local SWIFT infrastructure.
2.7A Vulnerability Scanning

Identify known vulnerabilities within the local SWIFT environment by implementing a regular vulnerability scanning process.

2.8A Critical Activity Outsourcing

Ensure protection of the local SWIFT infrastructure from risks exposed by the outsourcing of critical activities.

2.9A Transaction Business Controls

Restrict transaction activity to validated and approved counterparties and within the expected bounds of normal business.

2.10A Application Hardening Reduce the attack surface of SWIFT-related components by performing application hardening on the SWIFT-certified messaging and communication interfaces and related applications.

5. Manage Identities and Segregate Privileges

5.3A Personnel Vetting Process

Ensure the trustworthiness of staff operating the local SWIFT environment by performing personnel vetting.

5.4A Physical and Logical Password Storage

Protect physically and logically recorded passwords.

6. Detect Anomalous Activity to Systems or Transaction Records
6.5A Intrusion Detection

Detect and prevent anomalous network activity into and within the local SWIFT environment.

7. Plan for Incident Response and Information Sharing
7.3A Penetration Testing

Validate the operational security configuration and identify security gaps by performing penetration testing.

7.4A Scenario Risk Assessment

Evaluate the risk and readiness of the organization based on plausible cyber attack scenarios.

Change Management: The Change Management process to evolve the controls framework is designed to ensure that the SWIFT community has sufficient time (up to 18 months) to understand and implement any future changes to the controls requirements. Any changes to the controls will be announced mid-year, with attestation and compliance against the mandatory controls of any new version required between July and December of the following year, dependent on the expiry date of the attestation. In exceptional circumstances an emergency release may be required, but we expect this to be a rare occurrence.

Introduction of new controls or guidelines will take account of strong cybersecurity practices that address the currently known new and arising threats in order to pragmatically raise the security bar. Consultation and input gathering from stakeholders will occur throughout the year to capture change requests from the various sources. All new mandatory controls will be first introduced as Advisory, thereby giving all users at least two cycles to plan, budget and implement.

SWIFT Customer Security Programme (CSP) - Timelines
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