Have Criminals Realized Small Banks Struggle with Cyber?

August 31, 2016

I think criminals have realized that Big Banks spend a lot of $$ on cyber security but smaller institutions struggle because of the cost.

Beazley, a leading provider of data breach response insurance published its – July 2016 Breach Insights reporting:

  • In 2015, hacking and malware attacks accounted for 27% of the breaches Beazley handled for financial institutions; in the first half of this year, that rose to 43%.
  • Banks and credit unions with less than $35 million in annual revenues accounted for 81% of hacking and malware breaches at financial institutions in 2016, a major increase over the 54% of incidents in this industry they represented in 2015.

The problem seems to be getting worse…

Reuters just reported that SWIFT sent messages to banks warning of breaches and asking them to be vigilant (see another article from The Register on the subject here).  This all falls on the heels of criminals hacking the SWIFT messaging system and stealing $81 million from Bangladesh Bank.  Evidently BAE looked at the hack (more here) and found it the bad actors came in through a vulnerable switch (evidently second-hand neglected networking gear)—We’ve written about this before in regards to bad security hygiene.

The Bangkok Post also reported The Central Bank of Thailand suspects an Eastern European gang installed malware on the NCR ATM machines and withdrew $350,000USD.   This sounds very similar to the $2 million ATM attack in Taiwan last month.

NetWatcher is a great service for these smaller institutions.  It both deals with exploits but also those security hygiene issues that smaller community banks and credit unions have a hard time keeping up with over time.

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