Financial institutions experience significant spike in threats linked to COVID-19

Wednesday 28 April 2021 15:00 CET | News

Financial institutions have reported significantly increased threat levels from COVID-related cybercrime according to new research by BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, the cyber and intelligence arm of BAE Systems.

A huge jump in new pandemic-related threats, alongside a rise in challenges caused by enforced work from home guidance, is leaving open and insecure gaps in FIs’ networks. The findings released within The COVID Crime Index 2021 analyses the changing nature and impact of fraud, risk and cyberthreats on UK and US FIs and consumers over the last 12 months.

According to the index, which surveyed 902 organisations in the financial services sector, three-quarters (74%) have experienced a rise in cybercrime since the pandemic began, with 42% of banks and insurers revealing the remote working model has made them less secure. Just under half (44%) were also concerned that this has led to less visibility of potential holes in their network or infrastructure and a further 37% of FIs believe their customers are now at greater risk of cybercrime or fraud.

The monetary impact of online criminal activity since the start of the pandemic has also been significant. The index found that 56% of US and UK banks and insurers saw an upsurge in financial losses over the last 12 months – the average cost reaching USD 720,000 USD and rising.

A secondary study as part of the index surveyed consumers to explore the personal impact of these increased attacks and found a fifth of consumers have been targeted at least once in the past year. More than a quarter (28%) said they had been sent an email hoax relating to COVID-19, with 22% also being targeted by text or SMS. 

A spike in online shopping due to the pandemic has also driven increasing cybercrime. More than a quarter (26%) said they had bought something from a fraudulent site in the past 12 months and never received their goods. This has led to concerns over sharing data, with 84% of consumers worried about their digital identity and personal information online.

More than half (53%) of those surveyed believe it is the job of the banks to protect them, compared with 40% that believed it was their own responsibility. The same amount (53% said banks or credit card providers could provide more guidance to consumers on how to behave online to be better protected from cybercrime.


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Keywords: data sharing, fraud prevention, cybercrime, financial institutions, COVID-19, digital identity
Categories: Banking & Fintech | Digital Identity, Security & Online Fraud
Countries: United Kingdom
This article is part of category

Banking & Fintech