Aug 28, 2013 Dave King
The financial services sector has been victimized by data breaches and other events involving failed cybersecurity measures, while hackers are increasingly attacking wire transfers and ACH card payments. Businesses and lending institutions need to strengthen their security standards to avoid the massive financial losses that come along with lost consumer or corporate data.
Since these attacks have broadened in both size and scope, more advocacy groups and government officials are working to establish effective regulatory measures to fight cyber attacks.
SEC, other regulators step up
Bloomberg recently reported that several studies have been released that indicate cyber attacks are the "top systemic threat" to organizations in the financial services sector as well as within enterprises and other institutions . According to the news provider, one report from PricewaterhouseCoopers found that executives among these firms are starting to become more aware of the threats that abound, though the attacks have not slowed down.
As a result, more officials are calling for increased oversight of the financial services sector when it comes to security, with the Securities and Exchange Commission being in the center of the discussion. Since data has revealed the massive economic impact of data breaches, identity theft and other hacking events that target payment processing systems, the government might need to increase regulatory efforts to further assist the ailing U.S. financial situation.
The source explained that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority will also be conducting more thorough cybersecurity checks during its examinations of firms this year. The actual attacks are not the only issue, either, as the SEC has seen instances of financial firms misleading prospective investors, current clients and other entities, either knowingly or accidentally, when it comes to cybersecurity threats.
Bloomberg added that firms need to be able to clearly and accurately disclose information regarding cybersecurity risks, as well as the frameworks in place to minimize the chances of an attack.
What to do?
While cybersecurity can be a highly uncomfortable topic for the average executive or small business owner, it is important to remember that risk can be minimized using simple tactics. For example, several studies have shown that the vast majority of data breaches - more than 90 percent - could have been avoided had simple security frameworks been in place.
These include firewalls, other security software and employee training, all of which are easy to implement and are highly effective deterrents of cyber attacks.