U.S. banking regulators focused on cyber security after SWIFT attacks

August 24, 2016 4:24 PM EDT

The Swift bank logo is pictured in this photo illustration taken April 26, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. banking regulators said on Wednesday they are focused on cyber security risks and controls for U.S. financial institutions after attacks earlier this year involving the global financial network known as SWIFT.

In a letter responding to questions from Representative Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, the regulators also said the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency was drafting guidance on interbank messaging and wholesale payment systems.

"As part of ongoing supervision activities, the OCC's onsite examination teams regularly address emerging issues, such as the recent reports of cyber-attacks involving SWIFT," said the letter from banking regulators including the Federal Reserve Board and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

It said updated guidance would soon be provided to U.S. banking officials outlining "key controls and risk management practices that should be assessed as part of supervisory oversight."

Maloney said in a statement she appreciated the response and was encouraged by the steps they took in response to cyber attacks involving the SWIFT international payment system.

"However, as recent hacks demonstrate, our cybersecurity is only as strong as our weakest link," she said. "I remain concerned about the potential for future attacks and will be asking for regular updates from our banking regulators."

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Phil Berlowitz and Tom Brown)

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