Financial Firms Beware: 2014 Cybersecurity Threats on the Rise

Only a short while into the new year, and already there is a trend of rising cyberattacks. An article is taking a look ahead at what’s to come, and is preparing the financial industry for the threats they can expect.

According to the article, the risk of cyberattacks in the financial services industry is increasing, so broker-dealers, registered investment advisers and wealth management companies should take note.

William Stewart is a commercial cyberbusiness senior vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton, a management and technology consultant. He spoke to about the issue.

“Firms need to believe, first of all, that they are a probable target,” said Stewart.

“For firms that say, ‘We’re too small, they won’t bother with us,’ it’s not true. These sophisticated adversaries have multipronged attacks. They don’t just launch malware against one target.”

The article notes that the threat is moving from large banks to mid-tier institutions and smaller firms.

Stewart explained a potential attack scenario. A cybercriminal might buy identity information or break into a firm to find out the kind of prominent people a financial institution may be working with, said Stewart. The criminal would then send a malware-infested plausible-looking e-mail to the individual’s business network. The criminal would be able to collect more information once the recipient clicks on the malware-infected document and the malware gets into the company’s network.

“That’s why these mid-tier folks are a target,” said Stewart. He noted hedge funds, regional banks and wealth management firms as targets.

“They have valuable information because they’re managing assets,” said Stewart.

People in the financial industry are voicing their concerns and are focusing on their security measures. The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association for example, is on high alert about cybersecurity. In October, the association released its findings from a cybersecurity exercise it conducted called Quantum Dawn 2, which simulated a systemic cyberattack on the U.S. financial sector.

Mark Clancy, managing director for technology risk management and chief information security officer of Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., gave his thoughts about the future of cybercrime.

“Unfortunately, criminals will start to figure out the broker-dealers. When criminals start to understand the industry better, broker-dealers can expect to see more attacks,” he said.

“The key to remember is that on the other side of these attacks is a human. Humans innovate.”


For more detailed information, see the original article here: