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April 28, 2017updated 27 Jul 2022 8:30am

Hackers breach 200 million financial services records in 2016

Could anyone have prepared for this explosion of cyber-attacks?

By Tom Ball

Financial services were pillaged and plundered by cyber-attacks in 2016 as it is revealed that a colossal 200 million financial services records were breached that year.

This massive figure put the financial services above other major sectors that had previously been the prime targets for the hackers, such as retail and healthcare.

The financial services sector received 65% more cyber-attacks than organisations spanning all industries on average. To put this explosive rise of attacks into perspective, the number of financial services data records breached in 2016 rose 937 percent.

Behind the shocking results is the X-Force Research team from IBM. The findings make a substantial addition to the current storm of conversation surround cyber security, particularly in regard to financial services records being breached.

On the one hand, low awareness has been blamed as a major factor in the level of success hackers have had in breaching critical data.


It could be argued however that such a rapid onslaught of a 937 percent increase in attacks could not simply be fended off by having greater understanding of the threat landscape.

While improved awareness may be crucial to wrestling the problem, and gaining control again, these results suggest that focus should be placed on implementing technologies.

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For example, automation in security processes, and machine learning for constant threat hunting inside your organisation’s perimeter could be huge assets for taking the fight to the adversaries.

Peter Woollacott, CEO of security firm Huntsman told CBR about the changing threat environment, and how humans with crucial skills as analysts are weighed down with menial tasks, while attackers wreak havoc.

             READ MORE: Why automation is key for the future of cyber security

He said: “If they are manually trying to manage all of this information that they are being bombarded with and reach conclusions, while all of the information is coming in at machine speed, they are always under water.….We are up to the point of industrialising cybersecurity and that’s really what automation is going to do. It is going to automate processes that are currently done by hand.”

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