In 2023, we’ve already seen a high-profile ransomware attack on a division of Dublin-based financial software firm, ION Markets, which reportedly resulted in disruption to derivatives training.
More recently, consumer lender Latitude Financial revealed that data including passport details and financial statements had been stolen from its system in a cyber-attack, reportedly affecting 14 million customers or loan applicants.
Globally-recognised cyber security leader Emma Leith tells the Business Cyber Centre that criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated. And whether you’re a start-up broker or a big corporate, it’s vital every company is robustly prepared for cyber-security threats.
“Financial services companies have always been lucrative targets for cyber-crime,” says Emma, who is Director of Consulting at leading cyber security firm Bridewell. “The recent attack on financial software business ION Group reminded us that no organisation is immune to nation-state cyber threats.
“As the sector continues to undergo major digital transformation, cyber criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in finding and exploiting security weak points across the entire financial services sector. Whether you’re a large enterprise, fintech or a start-up broker, it’s essential to build new security capabilities and strengthen overall cyber maturity in response to new and evolving cyber threats.”
Emma adds that while the financial services sector has made great progress in preparing for cyber security challenges, the landscape is ever-evolving. And that means it’s vital to keep on top of your cyber strategy.
“The fact that 69% of organisations saw an increase in threats last year highlights how companies of all sizes must avoid complacency and take further collective action against escalating security risks,” she adds.
“For SMEs, increased cloud adoption is a case in point – cloud computing is improving organisational agility and paving the way towards greater cyber maturity, but it also opens up a big potential attack route within financial services firms. It allows for greater agility in day-to-day operations, but it can introduce new dimensions of risk compared to traditional IT infrastructure.
“Ransomware is another growing cyber security concern. Financial services firms must adopt an even more proactive approach to security operations and operational resilience. This involves preparing and rehearsing cyber scenarios, evaluating their incident response capabilities, and ensuring that a cyber threat intelligence-led approach to security is firmly embedded in everything they do.”