UK finance firms urged to work together to fight cyber crime

By Emma Rumney

LONDON, April 23 (Reuters) – Britain’s financial firms need
to pull together to fight cyber crime, working with government
and law enforcement to attack criminals’ infrastructure and put
them out of business, a report by KPMG and industry body UK
Finance said on Monday.

The report argues the growing threat cyber crime poses to
the financial sector cannot be countered just by spending more
money, and that a revamped approach is needed.

This includes working together and with governments and law
enforcement to render the markets, tools and systems cyber
criminals use ineffective, it said.

“(That) imposes cost on them (the criminals), because they
then have to reconstruct that botnet, those phishing sites,”
said David Ferbrache, technical director and head of cyber and
space at KPMG.

“For us it’s very much a bit of a call to arms across the
community … There’s a lot more we can do,” he said.

Some groups, such as the Cyber Defence Alliance, whose
members include some of the world’s biggest banks, are already
doing this, but different initiatives need to be linked up,
report authors Ferbrache and Dan Crisp, interim director of
technology and digital policy at UK Finance, told Reuters.

Cyber crime is big business, with the global impact
exceeding $450 billion a year, and is now second only to
political risk in terms of challenges facing the financial
sector, according to the report.

The attack on the Bank of Bangladesh in 2016, where hackers
made off with $81 million, shows the growing sophistication of
attacks on financial firms, it said. Banks’ cyber chiefs have
also warned that tools previously only available to nation
states are now being used by criminals.

While UK banks alone spent $360 million on IT in 2016, it
continued, approaches are often slow and constrained by
regulation relative to the methods used by cyber criminals, who
can operate beyond borders and the law and are constantly
updating their methods.

This requires a quicker and more collaborative response,
both within and among affected firms and law enforcement and
governments, the report said.

“Ultimately, the financial sector as a community needs to
organise this themselves,” said Ferbrache.
(Reporting by Emma Rumney; Editing by Mark Potter)

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