Vulnerabilities / Threats

12/1/2015
05:00 PM
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Cybersecurity Seen As Top Priority For Financial Risk Managers

Risk managers at financial firms rate cyber risk as the number one concern across all risk management activities, not just IT risks.

Risk managers in the financial services industry are skittish about what they perceive as a heightened chance for high-impact event hitting the global financial system hard and they're naming potential cyber attacks as one of the biggest drivers for that increased risk. 

A new survey out today by the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) shows that 61% of risk managers believe that over the last six months, the probability of an event that turns over the entire global financial system's applecart just went up. And among them, 70% cited cyber risk as a top five risk for initiating that kind of event. That puts cyberattacks at the top of their global concerns. Meanwhile, the Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee (FPC) also released its Financial Stability Report today with thoughts along the same lines, warning that cyber risk is a strategic priority rather than a narrow technology issue.

With so much money at stake within financial systems, its little wonder that financial services firms of all types are a huge target for cyber criminals. According to the Websense Security Labs 2015 Industry Drill-Down Report for financial services, financial services encounters security incidents 300 percent more frequently than other industries. And while many financial services firms do spend much more than their brethern in other industries, gaps still remain that threaten the stability of the financial ecosystem and the economic continuity it supports.

The massive attack against JP Morgan in 2014 is a testament to that. In that case, over 83 million customers saw their data stolen, and that incident was just a sliver of the activity perpetrated by the criminals who carried it out, according to indictments made public last month.

"It is no longer hacking merely for a quick payout, but hacking to support a diversified criminal conglomerate," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement about the JP Morgan attack activity. "This was hacking as a business model."

Many of these concerns are driving not just more investment, but smarter investments from the financial industry, as many organizations are seeking better means of information-sharing to reduce risk at individual organizations by learning from the pain of others.

"When it comes to fighting cyber risk specifically, we’re seeing a lot of market participants collaborating to a greater degree than in the past,” says Mark Clancy, CEO of Soltra, a joint venture between DTCC and the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC). "More and more firms are aware of how information sharing can help prevent and minimize incidents while making it more expensive for hackers to be successful. This is one area where resources are being allocated."

 

Ericka Chickowski specializes in coverage of information technology and business innovation. She has focused on information security for the better part of a decade and regularly writes about the security industry as a contributor to Dark Reading.  View Full Bio

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Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
12/3/2015 | 5:38:53 AM
Yeah, yeah
Of course, just because someone indicates something as a "top priority" doesn't mean they'll do anything about it.

For instance, keeping my kitchen clean is a top priority...but it's not exactly spotless right now while I sit here and Internet.
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