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February 6, 2018updated 07 Jul 2022 8:57am

EU Fintech Action Plan puts cybersecurity top of the list

Financial services is an industry commonly considered the number one target of hackers, meaning that its approach to cybersecurity must be robust.

By Tom Ball

Cybersecurity has been made the number one priority in a Fintech Action Plan presented by the European Union, aiming to improve collaboration between participants and regulators.

The increasingly dangerous threat landscape poses perhaps the greatest threat to the financial services of all industries, facing an unparalleled density of attacks.

In light of this, the European Parliament has promoted the need for cybersecurity to be put first and foremost in a new Action Plan centred on Fintech.

A draft plan has been presented by the European Commission that presents a three-pronged strategy for approaching the task at hand.

Firstly the draft puts forward the concept of a public-private workshop geared towards analysing limitations to sharing information on various threats and how they can be tackled, aiming to arm organisations with the vital know-how.

Secondly the plan details a drive to reach out to the European supervisory authorities (ESAs) by Q1 2019 to present outlines of their financial sector supervisory approaches, as well as IT security and governance requirements. This move appears to be bid to gain an all-encompassing and unifying understanding of the whole operation, aligning strategies to assess the need for legislative alterations.

Lastly, by Q4 2018 the ESAs will be expected to look into the effectiveness of a potential framework for analysing cyberattacks and threats, also specifically focussing on the EU financial sector. This process will take into account factors such as cost.

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The importance of this plan may prove absolutely critical, with a recent study from VMware finding that financial services cybersecurity is in urgent need of reform. Statistics presents in the study included a towering 90 per cent of IT security professionals working in financial services stating that they have to make compromises to simply maintain security, indicating a major lack of material support.

A major contributing factor in this situation, the study notes, is the frenzied pursuit of digital transformation. Many organisations are drawn into this process seeking to harness disruptive capabilities for a competitive edge, leading to the neglect of critical areas like cybersecurity.

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