Wednesday, June 19, 2024

UK financial sector under constant cyberattack

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Piggy bank theft

The financial sector in the UK is under constant attack and that it is grappling to keep pace with ever-evolving cyber threats, according to a new report from security awareness training company KnowBe4.

The frequency of ransomware attacks on the financial sector in the UK doubled in 2023, showcasing an alarming escalation. Phishing and Business Email Compromise (BEC) remain the top threats to organizations including financial institutions.

The industry is also being heavily targeted with Account Takeover (ATO) attempts, with roughly 40 percent of all ATOs hitting financial websites.

Javvad Malik, lead security advocate at KnowBe4 stated, “These findings underscore a stark reality for the UK’s financial sector — they are being attacked at an unprecedented rate. Cyber defenses need to adapt with the same speed and intelligence as the threats themselves. In addition to traditional security strategies, fostering a culture of security awareness to mitigate the inherent human risk of any organization is no longer optional; it is a cornerstone for survival against cybercrime.”

In addition the report finds that AI-driven deepfake audio impersonations are on the rise. Also for the first time, cyberattacks, and their potential to disrupt essential services, are perceived as an acute risk, more so than geopolitical tensions, inflation, or economic recessions.

There has been a dramatic 81 percent surge in cyberattacks against UK financial institutions in the lyear following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, outpacing the global increase of 61 percent during the same time period.

A study last month by consumer organization Which? finds that multiple UK banks are lacking basic online and app protections, including use of outdated and vulnerable web applications, failure to enforce secure passwords, and the absence of alerts for critical account changes.

The full report is available on the KnowBe4 site.

Image Credit: Rob Hyrons / Shutterstock

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