Data breaches at financial services companies in the U.K. jumped fivefold last year, underscoring how the industry is a prime target for hackers.
According to a report in The Financial Times citing the Financial Conduct Authority, during 2018 there were 145 breaches reported to the Financial Conduct Authority. That is up from just 25 in 2017. Of the players in the financial services industry that reported breaches, the FCA said investment banks reported the most incidents, coming in at 34, which is up from just three in 2017. Retail banks reported 25 breaches compared to 1 in 2017, noted The Financial Times.
According to the report, the increase in attacks that were reported is due in part to the implementation of the European Union’s new data protection law General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It went on the books in May, requiring companies to report a cyber hack within 72 hours of it happening or the company would face fines. According to the FCA data in June, which was the first month of GDPR, the FCA saw the highest number of data breaches for a month reported. In June there were 20 data breaches reported by the industry.
The Financial Times reported that executives at big banks and payment firms in the U.K. said they are under attack constantly from hackers, with one chief information officer of a bank in the U.K. saying the company is seeing an increase in the hackers trying to get in. “We are seeing a lot more threat actors knocking at the front door . . . it ranges from individual kids to, increasingly, the criminal fraternity and national states. You have to constantly improve to keep up and protect yourself,” the executive told the paper. Meanwhile, another senior figure at a bank said the idea of a major hack keeps board members awake because its harder to prepare for than an economic downturn.