In Focus
BANKING TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Asian banks brace for next wave of cyberattacks

Global cost of data breaches will reach an estimated $2.1t by 2019.

The year 2016 was brutal for Asian banks as many fell prey to cyberattacks, including high-profile cases that resulted in 3.2m compromised debit cards in India and $2m stolen through compromised ATMs in Taiwan. Cybersecurity experts warn that the next decade will see a further spike in data breaches so banks will need to shore up their defenses to plug existing weaknesses in ATMs and emerging vulnerabilities in corporate e-mails.

Wolfram Hedrich, executive director of the Asia Pacific Risk Center, estimates that by 2019 the global cost of data breaches will reach an estimated $2.1t. In 2012, cyberattacks were not considered a top 10 global risk, but over the next decade it will become the 6th most likely global risk revealing the growing intensity and frequency of these assaults, especially in Asia and the Pacific.

“The need to combat cyber threat has never been more urgent in the Asia Pacific region,” says Hedrich, pointing to the recent $81m theft from the Bangladesh central bank after hackers broke into an official’s computer and transferred the funds to the Philippines.

Malware attacks
Kaspersky Lab cautions banks that whilst ATM malware programmes will continue to be a headache, the next wave of cyberattacks will focus on targetting corporate users through their work e-mails. Banking malware attacks against corporate users comprised 17% of all targetted victims in 2016, with the overall number of detected attacks rising by 4%. In response, banks should protect staff with critical access and ensure they do not fall prey to phishing.

“Employees are the gateway for criminals to gain access to bank systems, which means staff need to exercise the same caution with their work emails as with their own details in their personal lives,” advises Kaspersky Lab. 

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