Enduring Cyber Threats and Emerging Challenges to the Financial Sector

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IntroductionAt the time of writing, several financial services firms are working to restore their networks following disruptive cyber attacks. Banks in Chile and Seychelles, as well as financial technology companies like Silverlake Axis, a supplier of core banking systems throughout the Asia-Pacific, are all reportedly victims of separate ransom and extortion attempts.1 Elsewhere, the threat from cyber criminals triggered a suspension of automatic teller machine (ATM) transactions overnight, and hackers recently knocked websites associated with a stock exchange offline using distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.2 Such disruptions not only impact customers of these services, but also undermine the confidence of peers in the financial services community. Regulators have been taking increasing notice of these cyber threats, and operational resilience has shot to the top of agendas around the world.

A few years ago, targeted attacks on financial services sector firms were still relatively rare. However, cases have increased in recent years as capabilities and specialisms such as network intrusion have advanced. BAE Systems in partnership with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has documented public examples via the Timeline of Cyber Incidents Involving Financial Institutions.3 This timeline serves as a useful resource in tracking trends, even though public cases are just …

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