The number of cybersecurity breaches affecting financial services firms tripled in 2022-2023 compared with the prior-year period, according to new research from law firm RPC.
The number of breaches reported to the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which deals with data breaches and data practice at British firms, rose from 187 to 640 in that period.
The data should serve as a wake-up call for finance companies, whose role at the heart of people’s everyday lives makes it all the more important for them to be vigilant against the rising risk of cyber attacks – particularly the growing threat of ransomware attacks.
James Derbyshire, browser isolation expert at Garrison, previously told our sister title FinTech Magazine that nearly two-thirds of financial institutions globally have already been hit by a ransomware attack in 2023.
The latest figures, underlining how firms are becoming more susceptible to attack, come amid warnings from insurance company Beazley that businesses risk being ‘distracted’ from the ceaseless nature of cyber risk by other emerging threats like tech obsolescence and IP theft.
RPC found there was a significant increase in reports from the pension sector, where reported breaches went from just six to 246 – more than a third of the overall total.
Increase in cyber attacks ‘cause for concern’
“It’s a cause for concern that so many financial services firms, especially pension schemes, have suffered some form of cyber attack, resulting in a data breach,” says Richard Breavington, Partner and Head of Cyber and Iech insurance at RPC.
“Hackers target pension schemes because of large amounts of valuable, sensitive financial data so cybersecurity is fundamental to pension scheme trustees’ legal duties.
Achi Lewis, Area VP EMEA for Absolute Software, adds: “For many sectors now, it is no longer a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’ an attack will occur. The financial sector is a crucial element within our global economy, handling vast amounts of sensitive data and financial transactions daily, making it a prime target for bad actors.
“As such, cyber resiliency has never been more pressing. This means not only having robust preventive measures in place, but also a proactive response mechanism that can swiftly adapt and recover in the face of an attack.
“Self-healing technology can empower financial institutions to automatically detect and repair damaged applications and devices, effectively preventing reinfection and reducing downtime.”
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