Cyber-attacks on banks and the repercussionsBack in 2017, seven major UK banks (supposedly Santander, Tesco Bank, RBS, Lloyds, HSBC, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banking Group and Barclays) were targeted by hackers that were using a program called Webstresser (a website since closed down by five different countries). It enables users to launch DDoS style attacks, and can be rented for as little as £11 – aka super affordable, yet super destructive. It was described as a highly-effective attack, that most likely cost the group of banks a large sum of money to rectify. This isn’t the first time Tesco Bank have landed in murky waters when it comes to their cyber-security. Back in 2016, they were found guilty of not fortifying their customers personal current accounts – e.g. issuing sequential card numbers, not responding to the attack with urgency, failing to block fraudulent transactions for debit cards etc. Due to this matter being tremendously avoidable, the FCA (UK Financial Conduct Authority) announced last month that they have fined Tesco Bank £16.4 million – so yes, failure to take cyber-security precautions has a cost not just to reputation.
How common are cyber-attacks on financial services?Forbes reported that in the US, financial services firms are attacked 1 billion times a year – in comparison to 4 million times for average American businesses. In 2017 banks lost $16.8 billion (approx. £12.8) to hackers, which only insinuates that banks need to step up their cyber-security game if they want to protect themselves; and more importantly, their customers.
“The cyber threat is constantly evolving and we are improving our tactics and capabilities in response. But businesses and individuals must report cyber-crime – the earlier people report, the quicker we are able to assess new methodologies and limit the damage they can have.”