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Financial Sector Under Siege: 50 Cyber Attacks Annually – Cybersecurity Investment Needed

Cybersecurity footprints are becoming increasingly complex and businesses need to counteract this to avoid spiralling costs, a global security research report has warned. 

According to Fastly’s new annual global cybersecurity report The Race to Adapt, the financial sector continues to be targeted by financially motivated organised crime, which often takes the form of data breaches, identity-based threats – such as malware, phishing, and social engineering attacks – and hacking, through the use of stolen credentials.

Additionally, financial organisations each suffered an average of 50 known attacks in the last year – more than any other industry. For this reason, financial and fintech professionals we surveyed are overwhelmingly (80 per cent) choosing to increase their security spend to try and secure themselves.

The survey also reveals the hugely damaging effects of financially motivated organised crime, with businesses losing more than 10 per cent of their revenue in the last 12 months. Beyond financial damage, network outages (35 per cent), compromised customer accounts (29 per cent) and data loss (28 per cent) were among the key dangers making up a complicated threat landscape. On top of this, 86 per cent are concerned that remote work is making securing their businesses harder.

Sean Leach, VP technology at Fastly, commented: “Security is at the heart of a financial service provider’s offering. If a customer’s data and money are at risk, the desire to use these businesses’ services disappears. Our data shows that bad actors are having some success in manipulating customers, exploiting open source software and launching API attacks, so prevention can look like a thankless task due to the range of potential threats and incentives for cyber criminals.

“Security spending is already considerable in this sector, so allocating these resources effectively will be crucial to the commercial viability of fintech services as the threat landscape diversifies.”

Further findings

Recognising the significant financial implications associated with inadequate security infrastructure, financial institutions are reassessing their investments. In the upcoming year, 80 per cent of them are opting to boost their cybersecurity budgets, surpassing other industries in this regard.

Despite this surge in investment, the realm of security remains fraught with uncertainty, as 44 per cent of security experts believe they have overspent on cybersecurity tools in the past 12 months, compared to 15 per cent who feel they’ve underinvested. This ambivalent spending strategy is exemplified by the fact that they fully utilise only 54 per cent of their security tools, suggesting the presence of significant untapped resources in the ongoing battle against cyber threats.

In addition to financial challenges, organisations are grappling with persistent issues concerning the availability of skilled security professionals. A notable 30 per cent of cybersecurity experts in the financial sector attribute security incidents in the past year to a shortage of talent, and 33 per cent foresee this trend continuing in the next 12 months.

Consequently,  56 per cent of financial institutions have augmented their budgets dedicated to talent acquisition in the past year to address these existing challenges.

Moving forward

Leach also added: “Despite now prioritising the resolution of challenges related to the talent pool for the last two years, many businesses continue to try to address these by simply spending more. While this strategy can help businesses to secure the top talent, it ignores the technological developments – and alternative solutions – that can help security teams overcome their personnel challenges.

“Among these, we’ve seen that Managed Security Services (MSS) and Generative AI have been particular focus areas as businesses look to reduce the toil for their in-house security teams by taking time-consuming work off their hands to increase productivity, unlock new opportunities for innovation and ensure businesses are better protected across their attack surface.”

 

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