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UK banks expect rise in cyber crime due to economic downturn

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The cost-of-living crisis in the UK is likely to lead to a rise in cyber crime, suggests recently published research.

More than a third (38%) of cyber security professionals within the UK’s finance sector anticipates that cases of phishing or social engineering will rise as a result of the downturn and the economic hardship faced by employees.

The research, conducted by UK cyber security firm Bridewell, also found that examples of employee sabotage has increased by 63% in the last 12 months and is now ranked as the greatest threat to IT security by a quarter of cyber security heads at finance firms.

However, despite the gloomy forecast, the majority (62%) of finance firms have seen their IT security budgets reduce due to the downturn.

For Bridewell and other cyber security firms, this presents challenge in persuading financial institutions to maintain the same level of investment in security amid a potential rise in risk, albeit in an environment of reduced profit.

“With current economic pressures taking their toll, cyber criminals are increasing their efforts to exploit vulnerable individuals within financial services organisations – whether through deliberate or negligent employee actions, or through sophisticated social engineering techniques, which offer a financial incentive,” said Emma Leith, director of consulting at Bridewell.

“To address this rising threat, organisations must continue to invest in robust cyber defences, encompassing the monitoring, patching and testing of systems and access controls, user behavioural monitoring, ongoing staff awareness exercises, and vigorous data loss prevention measures to minimise the impacts of a successful insider attack,” added Leith.

The survey canvassed 500 cyber security professionals within the UK, including a number within the finance sector.

Source: Finextra

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