Exco Finance Insurance

Financial services companies most vulnerable to cyber attacks

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In the science fiction film Inception the main character, Dominic Cobb, infiltrated his victim’s dreams to gain access to business secrets and confidential data. He would then use this knowledge to influence things in his (or his client’s) favour. Cobb’s success depended on his ability to manipulate victims through greater understanding of their human vulnerabilities. Just like Cobb, cybercrime perpetrators begin by identifying their targets’ vulnerabilities and gathering intelligence required to breach their systems.


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It is clear that the growth in cybercrime has continued, if not accelerated, in the financial services industry. Headlines on the JPMorgan Chase Oct 2014 cyber-attack have been a recent example of real-life incident of cyber-attacks on corporates. The JP Morgan Chase cyber-attack has raised huge public awareness of weaknesses in the security systems of major businesses.


Financial services companies are seeing increased costs of cyber-crime. Did you know financial services firms will need the highest increase in security budget spend to advertise cyber-attacks? Previous cases of client data losses and leakages have resulted in catastrophic consequences in which lawsuits, reputational damage and drop in consumer confidence emanated.


Organised crime syndicates are becoming more sophisticated and changing their tactics. Clearly the basic firewalls and protective software are not enough to fend off hackers. Security professionals, business leaders, government officials, and information security experts call cybercrime “the war that knows no boarders “and seek answers to a more comprehensive organisational approach to cyber risk management.


Businesses of every size are grappling with how to secure their networks, devices and data protection systems. Attack techniques will no doubt change and therefore security will also have to change. The speed of attacks is increasing while response times are a lagging. As a business owner, one should not snub what is happening, no business is immune to cyber-attacks.

Proactive measures of improving cybersecurity with a secure, vigilant and resilient approach are now under discussion at top level and play a strategic role in the organisation’s infrastructure .


The imperative to transform is a strategic business issue; the financial services companies that master this new approach could likely be at the forefront of the industry because, by incorporating a more agile cyber risk management approach, they may be able to more effectively harness the ongoing digital revolution to their advantage.


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Deloitte South Africa

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