Cyber Attacks are the Biggest Risk to the Financial Sector

According to a report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG), cyber criminals have targeted financial services firms 300 times more than other companies. Within a period of 6 months, it has been observed that while other industries have been the victim of 42% of the phishing attacks; the financial sector has faced the maximum number of phishing attacks with the attack vector being used in 57% of the cyber attacks. The financial services industry is also at a risk of man-in-the-middle attacks (36%) which is more than any other industry at 24%.

BBC has reported that in the year 2018, the number of reported cyber-incidents has increased from 69 to 819 from 2017, thus, marking a 1000% increase in these attacks. In 2019, more than half of the British firms have reported cyber attacks. According to BBC, the cost of these attacks has seen a 61% surge from $229,000 to $369,000.

So, why do cyber-attackers target finance industry?

According to Forbes, cyber attacks cost $18 million per financial firm whereas it is $12 million per firm for other industries. It has also been revealed that 25% of all malware attacks are deployed on financial services.

Banks and financial services organizations were the targets of 25.7 percent of all malware attacks last year, more than any other industry.

The reason behind the financial sector being the biggest market for cyber attackers is because these firms hold huge volumes of personal as well as financial data, which is incredibly valuable for cyber criminals. This abundant financial data includes cryptocurrency portfolios, investment details, bank account details, etc. Therefore, the probability of monetary gains in targeting the financial sector is very high.

Cyber Attacks on Financial Institutions in 2019

In the month of May, three banks including NCC Bank, Prime Bank as well as Dutch Bangla Bank Limited (DBBL), became the victim of cyber attacks. Of the three banks, DBBL was the most affected with a loss of $1.4 million while Prime Bank lost $0.40 million in the attack. Fortunately, NCC Bank Limited did not suffer any financial losses.

In one of the other attacks on the financial institution in 2019, personal information belonging to nearly 900,000 customers of three major Russian banks including OTP Bank, Alfa-Bank, and HCF Bank were leaked online.

What is the Importance of Cyber Security?

A cyber attack can inflict irreparable damage to an organization’s reputation and can cause customers to lose trust in its business. With financial loss as well as reputational loss, organizations can even lose their entire database, sensitive data as well as information.

How can Financial Organizations Protect Themselves Against Such Threats?

With the appropriate cyber security measures, organizations can prevent themselves against probable cyber attacks that otherwise, might have devastating outcomes. This includes:

  • Undergoing periodic vulnerability assessment and penetration testing (VAPT) on a regular basis.

With proper adoption of the mentioned cyber security measures, organizations become better at defending themselves against every possible cyber threat and thus protect their cyber infrastructure.

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