Financial Services are Under Attack!

Hackers are consistently targeting the financial sector and our personal information is at risk more than ever before. Cyber crime is the number one threat we face according to the U.S. Intelligence Service and 39% of all cyber attacks affected financial institutions (PwC). Hackers target these financial service firms 300% more than businesses in other industries. (CDW Finance) These financial institutions include banks, mortgage lenders, insurance companies, investment firms, and wealth managers. Most people assume that their finances and data are kept safe. However, as we have seen over the past few years, this is no longer true. Hackers are becoming more and more sophisticated and sneaky, infiltrating themselves into even our most secure networks.

Many asset and wealth managers do not believe they are a target because they assume hackers are after higher profile organizations. However, this is not the case. Financial instituions are incredibly attractive to hackers and cyber criminals. According to Kroll’s Cyber Threat forecast these financial firms are an “attractive target as they typically hold volumes of valuable data which are often stored in an organized manner with little protection.”

Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has listed cybersecurity as a top priority for 2016. At least 88% of broker-dealers and 74% of advisers have been the target of cyber attacks, the SEC stated earlier this February. The majority of these cyber attacks were done through fraudulent emails, some of which led to brokers losing more than $5,000, the report said. In one case, an adviser reported a loss of more than $75,000.

SEC Commissioner Luis Aguilar, stated that “cybersecurity is a persistent and growing threat, and that firms must take their cybersecurity duties seriously.”

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), also issued their annual Regulatory and Examiniation Priorities Letter earlier this February which identified hacking as a major threat facing brokerages. These regulatory agencies are taking note of how financial institutions supervise their cybersecurity.

FINRA states that they “will review firms’ approaches to cybersecurity risk management, and depending on a firm’s business and risk profile, we will examine one or more of the following topics: governance, risk assessment, technical controls, incident response, vendor management, data loss prevention and staff training.”

There are many ways these cyber criminals attempt to steal money and data. One way is by contacting a wealth manager and pretending to be a client. They will claim they have been robbed and need a wire transfer immediately. Another popular scam is called social engineering. This type of scam is so popular that even the Director of the CIA fell for this last year. In this situation, the teenage hacker posed as a Verizon employee to gain sensitive information which allowed him access into the Director’s AOL account.

Social engineering refers to the concept of psychologically manipulating people in order to trick a person into revealing critical information. For example, tricking an employee into giving them accessibility whether it is a password or crucial banking information is very common. Human nature and trust feeds into this concept and cyber criminals are counting on this. There have even been reports of attractive women befriending IT security professionals, thereby gaining entry and infecting networks with malware.

By employing cybersecurity professionals, you as a business are making real steps toward protecting your business, your clients, your data, and more. Save yourself from being hit with fines and audits, otherwise the FTC will fine a company that has not sufficiently protected their data against a breach. The FTC will require a company to undergo 20 years of security audits if they are found negligent. Having firewalls and intrusion detection mechanisms in place to prohibit cyber criminals from gaining access to your network is key to avoiding the potential fallout you’ll have to deal with. Cybersecurity is a necessity and it is incredibly important for all businesses to take it seriously.

How can we help?

Axiom Cyber Solutions is offering Managed Cyber-Security Protection for businesses starting as low as $199 per month. We realize that many organizations do not have a dedicated IT team and business owners may be handling their cyber security matters on their own. Let us take over and provide you with peace of mind. Axiom will provide your business a firewall and manage it so you don’t have to worry about securing your business. We will assess the security risks for your business and will help implement the right cyber security service for your business.

Axiom’s solutions come in different sizes and all our solutions are designed to deal with the attack vectors of today while being adaptive and flexible enough to continue to secure your network for years to come. For more information, check out our website at or give us a call us at (800) 519-5070. #FightBackWithAxiom