UK banks cover up cybercrime
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UK banks cover up cybercrime

In a worrying report from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), it has been claimed that UK banks are failing to report the full extent of cyber attacks on the financial services industry. This is despite the fact that reports of cybercrime to the FCA have risen ten-fold over the last four years, painting a disturbing picture of the number of incidents the sector is victim to.

Megan Butler, the FCA’s director of supervision, said in a speech on Tuesday: "Our suspicion is that there’s currently a material under-reporting of successful cyber attacks. The number of breaches relayed back to us looks modest when you set it against the number of attacks on the industry."

The FCA says that the number of “material attacks” reported this year has risen to 49, from just 5 in 2014. Ransomware, a method of cybercrime that locks users out of systems unless a ransom is paid electronically, is responsible for around 17% of these attacks. This is worrying, as it’s a particularly dangerous technique (one that gained notoriety earlier this year, when hackers used ransomware to cripple the NHS and a number of government agencies and businesses worldwide).

Butler said that there was a real need for firms to disclose cyber attacks as they happen, highlighting the fact that it would allow them to better coordinate with regulators in other regions to strengthen cyber supervision against global threats.

Cybercrime has become a serious risk. In October, the FCA opened an investigation into the hack of credit reporting company Equifax, which saw personal data stolen from at least 143 million people in a massive hack. Separately, Uber has paid hackers $100,000 to delete data stolen from 2.7 million customers in the UK. The rise of cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, add to this problem, making funds harder to trace.

Disclosure

Dominion holds a number of cyber security companies in its Global Trends Managed Fund.


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