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February 17, 2015updated 19 Aug 2016 3:59pm

Cyber risk spooks financiers as attacks escalate

CEOs in banking and capital markets labelled cyber risk the second biggest threat to business growth.

By Alexander Sword

79 percent of CEOs working in banking and capital markets consider cyber risk the biggest potential threat to business growth.

A PwC survey found that cyber attacks, including lack of data security, came in behind only over-regulation in the list, a perennial bugbear of financiers who consistently claim that the financial system is able to regulate itself.

The news comes in the wake of a series of cyber attacks by Karbanak that saw hackers make off with over $1 billion.

Other results also highlighted their increasing focus on technology. 86 percent of the CEOs believed it was important for CEOs to champion digital technologies to make the most of digital investments at their banks. 93 percent also saw mobile technologies as critical to their future.

Additionally, 89 percent of those surveyed viewed data mining and analysis as an important tool to both drive efficiency within the organisation and gain understanding of customer needs.

Beth E. Mooney, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, KeyCorp commented: "No one can be complacent about cybersecurity and identity theft, as we have watched the data breaches over the last year. They’re widespread, the statistics are frightening.

"The sources of where these breaches are coming from; it’s no longer two kids in a basement. These are very sophisticated entities doing it for everything from commerce to criminal. What we are doing to protect data and our clients, in conjunction with other financial institutions and the government, is one of the most important things, because we are into new territory that has significant consequences."

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Rob Norris, Director of Enterprise & Cyber Security at Fujitsu, commented on the results:

"Banking chief executives are right to be concerned about these threats as awareness is the first stage of effectively dealing with these pending fears.

"In order to both meet customers’ demands whilst remaining secure, banking organisations must first be aware of the risks which will most affect their business and then prepare themselves for a potential breach. Once aware of the overarching risks in the landscape they next need to focus on the threat that is relevant to them. It is key that organisations can respond to threats in a well-defined and practised manner – becoming proactive in their approach to security. Being reactive and waiting for incidents and events to happen will keep businesses on the back foot."

The research surveyed 175 CEOs in banking and capital markets organisations across 54 countries.

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