“The total damage to the financial sector is estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars a year, despite their huge investment in cybersecurity.”
By Meir Orbach, Calcalist
The financial sector is the target of more cyber attacks than any other sector, according to Hudi Zack, the chief executive director of the technology unit at the Israel National Cyber Directorate. Speaking Monday at a fintech conference held in Tel Aviv by Calcalist, Bank Leumi’s tech banking arm LeumiTech, and accounting firm KPMG, Zack cited an American study that found banks are 300 times more likely to be hit than similar entities in other sectors.
“The total damage to the financial sector is estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars a year, despite their huge investment in cybersecurity,” Zack said, adding that most attacks are intended to gain private client information, not cause financial or other damage to the banks.
Current industry trends are not working in the banks’ favor, Zack said. “As banks collect more and more information, systems that used to be isolated are becoming more open, and sophisticated attackers know how to leverage the new, advanced systems.” These attackers are not just criminal entities, but also organizations that are linked to various global governments, he said.
Cyber is going to remain the biggest threat to the stability of the financial system, Zack said, but despite the arms race with the attackers, there are several avenues that can level the playing field.
AI systems that can identify fraud and be used to identify cyber attacks are already in the early stages of being integrated, and will in the future be a main tenet of the tool basket, according to Zack. Blockchain has the potential to provide protection from various attacks, he added, and collaboration between financial bodies can be taken a step further.