UK Financial Services Fighting Five Cyber-Attacks a Year on Average, According to New Research

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New figures released as the number of finance firms reporting attacks to the Financial Conduct Authority rise 80% in the last year

IT bosses in the UK’s financial services sector have revealed the level of threat they face from cybercriminals on a daily basis, saying they faced an average of five attacks in the last 12 months, according to new research.

More than 30% said their business had been targeted as many as 10 times in the last year.

The independent research report: “Under Attack: Assessing the struggle of UK SMBs against cybercriminals”, commissioned by online encryption specialists Appstractor Corporation and conducted by Sapio Research revealed:

· 8% of companies faced at least one attack in the last year

· 19% were attacked 2-3 times

· 42% faced 4-5 attacks

· 31% were attacked 6-10 times

The report also uncovered a high level of concern amongst the sector’s IT leaders that the number and quality of cyber-software available for small businesses are enough to meet needs, however, almost half – 49% – say that there are too many that they do not understand how to implement or use.

Concern about the resilience of cyber defences within the UK’s financial sector have been growing in recent months ahead of the UK’s planned exit from the EU and last week the Bank of England carried out a stress test in conjunction with the finance ministry and FCA to gauge how prepared the sector was to deal with a major cyber attack.

Commenting on the report, Paul Rosenthal, CEO and founder of Appstractor Corporation said: “The Financial Services sector needs to bolster itself with the correct knowledge of the preventative cybersecurity methods and software available to firms.

“The increase of attacks on the sector in the last year alone highlights the need for all parts of the business being made aware of the threats facing the industry and the necessary steps that need to be taken to avoid an attack.

“The fight against cyber-attacks for small businesses within the sector needs to be carried out from the inside out – rather than layering several cybersecurity solutions that employees do not understand, businesses need to ensure all employees have a high, if not, substantial understanding of what the software does and how to implement it.

“This needs to become a proactive process rather than a reactive one to improve the sector’s resilience”