Homework fuels cyberattacks, says global financial watchdog

LONDON (Reuters) – Financial firms may need to beef up their defenses against cyber attacks that escalate after employees start working from home, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: A woman works at her desk typing on a computer in this illustrative photo taken Jan. 9, 2005 REUTERS / Catherine Benson

The FSB, which coordinates the financial rules of the G20 group of countries, said remote working since economies locked in to tackle COVID-19 has opened up new possibilities for cyber attacks. Homeworking (WFH) is expected to remain in one form or another in the financial services industry and beyond.

“Most cyber executives did not envision a near universal remote working scenario and the exploitation of such a situation by cyber threat actors,” FSB said in a report to ministers and banks G20 powerhouses.

The report is a first look at lessons learned from the impact of the pandemic on financial stability.

COVID-19 was the first major test of the stricter financial rules put in place after the 2008 global financial crisis and most parts of the system have coped well, the FSB said.

Lockdown restrictions are easing, but financial companies told employees they would be allowed to work from home several days a week continuously, and the rest of the time in the office.

Cyber ​​activities such as phishing, malware and ransomware have grown from less than 5,000 per week in February 2020 to over 200,000 per week at the end of April 2021, the FSB said.

“Financial institutions have generally been resilient, but they may need to consider adjustments to cyber risk management processes, IT incident reporting, response and recovery activities, as well as risk management. providers of critical third-party services, for example cloud services, “FSB said. .

The FSB, chaired by Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Randal Quarles and made up of regulators and central banks from major financial centers, will release a final report in October outlining its next steps.

He has already made proposals to strengthen the resilience of money market funds which suffered severe stress during the market turmoil of last year.

FSB WFH Chart –

Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Catherine Evans

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