News: banks are doubling their security budgets this year to guard against a spike in destructive attacks, ransomware and “island tours”—a term that describes the process of undermining a company’s cyber defenses by going after its network of vulnerable partners, rather than launching a direct attack.
That’s according to the cloud computing and software provider. vmware report, “Modern Bank Heists 5.0”.
- Their findings are based on a February 2022 survey of 130 chief information security officers and security leaders at financial institutions, 41% of whom were based in North America.
By the numbers: Most financial institutions surveyed plan to increase their security budget this year.
- Seven out of 10 financial institutions surveyed by VMware spend no more than 12% of their total IT budget on security. But most financial institutions plan to increase their budget by 20% to 30% this year.
- latest from IBM report on cyber attacks found that the financial industry is already spending the second-largest of any industry on fighting attacks, with an average cost of $5.72 million per data breach.
- just a few years ago, Accenture found financial services to be the most expensive industry from which to fight attacks. For example, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan saying spends more than a billion dollars a year on cybersecurity.
destructive attacks: The VMware report indicates that 63% of financial institutions experienced an increase in destructive attacksa 17% increase from last year.
- Destructive attacks are launched punitively to destroy data and take down subnets. Cybercriminals typically exploit these attacks as an escalation to destroy evidence as part of an incident response.
- Destructive malware variants seek to destroy, disrupt, or degrade victims’ systems by encrypting files, deleting data, destroying hard drives, terminating connections, or executing malicious code.
- In the financial industry, companies reported 703 cyberattack attempts per week in Q4 2021, an 53% increase over the same period of the previous year, by Diario Bancario. Some studies estimate that, on a global scale, the rate of cyberattacks is one every 10 seconds.
Data hijacking: Besides, 74% of respondents experienced one or more data hijacking attacksand 63% of those victims paid the ransom.
- It uses Remote Access Trojans (RATs) that help cybercriminals gain control of systems.
- Attackers can choose from a variety of off-the-shelf ransomware kits available, for example, from with you, a ransomware group known for its ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) framework. Cybercriminals use the kit to compromise a network, encrypt sensitive files within the network, and send the victim a ransom note asking for crypto in exchange for a decryption key that will unlock access to the files.
- The Provider of Cryptocurrency Investigation and Compliance Solutions Chainanalysis corroborates this finding: identifies over $602 million in ransomware payments paid in 2021— with the Conti ransomware gang accounting for $180 million — though he says the actual total for 2021 is likely to be much higher.
- In a span of six months last year, the US Treasury Department’s financial crimes investigation unit (FinCEN) said that identified approximately $5.2 billion in outgoing bitcoin transactions potentially linked to ransomware payments.
- Governments are now going after crypto exchanges that facilitate financial transactions for ransomware attackers; for example, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued sanctions against cryptocurrency exchange Suex in September 2021.