Fintech and cybercrime: how to survive an evolving landscape

By Matt High
The pace of digital transformation across the financial landscape continues to quicken, but how do banks and fintechs stay ahead of the threat? Accordi...

The pace of digital transformation across the financial landscape continues to quicken, but how do banks and fintechs stay ahead of the threat?

According to Accenture’s 2019 Ninth Annual Cost of Cybercrime report, financial services incurred the highest cybercrime costs among all industries studied in 2018.

This report revealed several statistics, including that: 

  • Banking had the highest average annual cost of cybercrime by industry in 2018, at $18.37mn.
  • The average number of security breaches rose in 2018 to 145, representing an 11% increase over the previous year and a 65% increase over the previous five years.
  • Globally in those industries surveyed, the annual cost of cybercrime rose by 12% to $13.0mn in 2018, up from $11.7mn in 2017.

Technology and preparedness

In such an environment the digital or cyber threat proposition evolves rapidly, making it essential to maintain the highest standards of technology and preparedness, and keep up to date with the impact of cyber trends.

In its research, Accenture explains: “As industries evolve and disrupt the current environment, threats are dramatically expanding while becoming more complex." 

It adds: "This requires more security innovation to protect company ecosystems. The subsequent cost to our organisations and economies is substantial - and growing.”

Across all industries, Accenture found that information theft is the most expensive and fastest rising consequence of cybercrime. However, it noted that there are several drivers behind the evolving global cybersecurity threat for all sectors:

  • Evolving targets: data is no longer the only target according to Accenture. Rather, companies worldwide are seeing their core systems  - controls systems and infrastructure - being hacked, which can lead to greater disruption.
  • Evolving impact: it’s no longer just about theft. For example, cyberattacks are changing approach from simply stealing data to destroying or altering it to create distrust. Today, data integrity itself is vulnerable.
  • Evolving techniques: attack methods are adapting quickly. Accenture found a focus on “the human layer” that targets the weakest link - people - through phishing and malicious insiders. 

To combat this evolving threat landscape there are several steps that financial institutions should take, says Accenture. These are: 

  • Increase defenses against web-based attacks
  • Focus on reducing ransomware occurrences
  • Invest to prevent disruption to business
  • Increase the deployment of technologies that have a high return on investment, such as automation, machine learning and AI
  • Manage the use of ‘less effective’ technologies liek enterprise governance, advanced perimeter control and the extensive use of data loss prevention. 

For more information, read Accenture's 2019 Ninth Annual Cost of Cybercrime.

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For more information on all topics for FinTech, please take a look at the latest edition of FinTech magazine.

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