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Expert comment: Cyber attacks risk triggering bank runs, warns IMF

April 2024 by Matt Aldridge, Principal Solutions Consultant at OpenText Security Solutions

The International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s latest report has said that cyber attacks are becoming so frequent and costly that they pose serious concerns for financial stability. With the number of malicious attacks doubling since the pandemic, the IMF has said that incidents in the financial sector could threaten financial and economic stability if they erode confidence in the financial system, disrupt critical services, or cause spillovers to other institutions.

In response to this, Matt Aldridge, Principal Solutions Consultant at OpenText Cybersecurity has commented on the news, stating that businesses, especially those in the financial industry, need to prioritise cybersecurity as a matter of urgency. ,He also goes on to offer advice on how to mitigate future attacks and how to prevent data leaks. The comment from Matt Aldridge, Principal Solutions Consultant at OpenText Cybersecurity:

"The latest IMF report has some worrying statistics further validating the vulnerability of the financial industry and the deep impacts of rising cyber attacks on their critical systems. It’s becoming increasingly challenging for IT admins and security teams to implement any single process or technology to protect against these threats.

The data held by financial organisations is often incredibly sensitive and if obtained as part of a cyber attack it has a tremendous impact on the exposure and damage that can befall such organisations and their employees. Financial and economic instability would be further strained if these attacks eroded trust in the financial system, disrupted critical infrastructure, or caused spillovers to other institutions.

This is why financial businesses of all sizes need to prioritise the security of critical and personal information, as you’re never too small or large to be a target. A key learning lesson here is to ensure that your own security processes are up to date, as well as that third parties who access your network adhere to your security processes.

Financial institutions must also be aware of the weaknesses of third-party integrations and take appropriate measures to secure them. IT leaders should consider cybersecurity standards and protocols when selecting third-party integrations, and ensure that an information-sharing agreement is in place to report security breaches. This can enhance security and help prevent data leaks.

To mitigate future attacks, financial service providers must step up and implement robust security systems, processes, and staff training. One layer of protection is not sufficient to significantly reduce an organisation’s exposure to risk. It’s crucial to establish multiple layers of protection, detection, and response within the infrastructure. Moreover, having multi-layered cyber defenses and rigorous processes will not only protect the business, services, and systems but also help identify weaknesses before criminals exploit them."

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