There has been a sharp rise in the number of cyber-incidents reported by the UK’s financial sector caused by hack attacks and other problems, according to official figures. A Freedom of Information request to the Financial Conduct Authority revealed that the number of declared events rose from 69 in 2017 to 819 in 2018. That marks a rise of more than 1,000%.

Consumer banks accounted for nearly 60% of the reports submitted to the watchdog last year. The spike is likely to be driven in part by the introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which introduced an obligation on all organisations to report certain types of security breaches.

But RSM – the tax and consulting firm that made the FoI request – said it also reflected the fact that there had been an increasing number of attacks on the industry. “The web-enabled systems underpinning the financial services sector hold huge volumes of personal and financial data, which are incredibly valuable for cyber-criminals,” Steven Snaith, the firm’s cyber-security specialist, told the BBC.

“One of the problems is that there are lots of freely available cyber-attack tools and knowledge that can be sourced online. There is currently no legislation that makes possessing or developing these tools illegal and this is exacerbating the problem.”

Even so, cyber-attacks of one form or another accounted for only about 11% of the incidents. More common reported causes were issues with equipment and software, problematic attempts to switch from one system to another, and faults with third-party services such accounts include: more than half of British firms ‘report cyber-attacks in 2019’, security flaw put RBS customers at risk of cyber-attack, and four times more data breaches logged in UK. There is believed there was still a high level of under-reporting.









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