55 percent of European financial organisations believe third party contractors pose the biggest risk; 52 percent find insider threats harder to detect than last year
Vormetric, a leader in enterprise data security for physical, virtual and cloud environments announced further analysis of its ‘Insider Threat’ report, conducted in 2014 with industry analyst firm Ovum. Focusing on just those responses from IT decision-makers at financial services organisations in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (a total of 92 responses), the research reveals how firms in the financial sector are evaluating their exposure to insider threats, and the steps they are taking in order to mitigate the risks.
The nature of insider threats today has shifted to include malicious privileged insiders as well as the compromise of privileged user accounts by advanced malware. The research shows that controlling legitimate network access by third party contractors is a primary concern within the sector, as 55 percent of IT decision-makers at financial organisations rate this type of user as posing the biggest risk. Other types of users that were isolated as posing the biggest threat to financial organisations include ‘privileged users’ – such as IT and network administrators – at 43 percent, and non-technical employees with legitimate access to sensitive data and IT assets, also at 43 percent.
Other key findings from the report for financial services organisations:
- 76 percent of financial services organisations plan to increase spending specifically to address insider threats
- The top driver for this spending increase is compliance (45 percent), with protecting reputation and the implementation of best practices the next greatest areas of concern
- Just over half (52 percent) are finding insider threats harder to detect than last year
- Cloud computing technology was a big concern, with 45 percent of European financial organisations finding insider threats harder to detect because of increasing use of cloud resources
The objective of the report is to establish the impact that insider threats are having on organisations. Insider threats involve the abuse or compromise of legitimate access to company data. This threat is forcing organisations to introduce privileged user data access policies to reduce the risk of hackers and APTs successfully using compromised administrator credentials to steal data. It also significantly limits the potential for abuse and data theft by privileged users such as root users and contract administrators.
“Typically, financial services firms’ very business is built on generating and processing the kind of data that cybercriminals dream of,” said Alan Kessler, CEO at Vormetric. You may remember the case of the Korean Credit Bureau in January this year, when financial data belonging to a staggering 20 million South Koreans – 40 percent of the country’s entire population – was stolen as a result of insider theft. In this instance a third party contractor tasked with improving security systems is thought to have smuggled the data out using USB sticks, later selling the information to phone marketing companies. Organisations are struggling to know exactly who has access to what data at any one time – if you don’t know this you can’t make any assurances of its security.”
The adoption of Cloud computing was also a top concern of European financial organisations, with 45 percent feeling it to be the leading cause of additional insider threat risk. These organisations have long used Cloud resources to enhance their raw compute power for analysing financial markets and investments, but continue to grow cloud usage in other areas as well.
“Enterprises grow their use of cloud computing to take advantage of the business flexibility and financial advantages it brings,” said Daniele Catteddu, Managing Director EMEA for Cloud Security Alliance. “The research shows that they feel that there are additional security risks from this growth, and details how cloud providers can enhance their offerings to better meet enterprise security needs for offsetting insider threats.”
The report also details top concerns with big data initiatives, a technology area where financial services firms are leading adopters. 69 percent of European financial services organisations cited the security of reports from big data projects that may include sensitive data as their leading big data concern.
“Organisations are moving ahead with big data implementations – both to drive business advantage and to enhance security,” said Matt Asay, VP of Marketing and Business Development at MongoDB – a company whose technology supports big data implementations and a partner of Vormetric. “Results of the insider threat report show that organisations are clearly looking for solutions that can detect, defend and control access to digital assets from malicious and unauthorised individuals. MongoDB is enabling organisations to build modern applications for fraud detection, cyberthreat analysis, anti-terrorism and compliance.”
To find out more about the risks posed by insider threats and for additional findings from the research with Ovum, visit the Vormetric website: http://bit.ly/1nYr41d
The 2014 Vormetric Insider Threat Report focuses on Europe’s three largest technology and business markets – France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (UK). Across these three markets 540 senior IT professionals and business managers, over 80 percent from mid-to-large enterprise organisations, were interviewed on the impact that insider threats have on their organisations and on how prepared they are to deal with insider activity.
This report was conducted by Ovum Research on behalf of Vormetric and with cooperation from Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), MongoDB, OASIS, Total Device, Security Innovation Network and Field Fisher Waterhouse.
Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears
By Colin Packham
CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australia will not alter legislation that would make Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google pay news outlets for content, a senior lawmaker said on Monday, as Canberra neared a final vote on whether to pass the bill into law.
Australia and the tech giants have been in a stand-off over the legislation widely seen as setting a global precedent.
Other countries including Canada and Britain have already expressed interest in taking some sort of similar action.
Facebook has protested the laws. Last week it blocked all news content and several state government and emergency department accounts, in a jolt to the global news industry, which has already seen its business model upended by the titans of the technological revolution.
Talks between Australia and Facebook over the weekend yielded no breakthrough.
As Australia’s senate began debating the legislation, the country’s most senior lawmaker in the upper house said there would be no further amendments.
“The bill as it stands … meets the right balance,” Simon Birmingham, Australia’s Minister for Finance, told Australian Broadcasting Corp Radio.
The bill in its present form ensures “Australian-generated news content by Australian-generated news organisations can and should be paid for and done so in a fair and legitimate way”.
The laws would give the government the right to appoint an arbitrator to set content licencing fees if private negotiations fail.
While both Google and Facebook have campaigned against the laws, Google last week inked deals with top Australian outlets, including a global deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
“There’s no reason Facebook can’t do and achieve what Google already has,” Birmingham added.
A Facebook representative declined to comment on Monday on the legislation, which passed the lower house last week and has majority support in the Senate.
A final vote after the so-called third reading of the bill is expected on Tuesday.
Lobby group DIGI, which represents Facebook, Google and other online platforms like Twitter Inc, meanwhile said on Monday that its members had agreed to adopt an industry-wide code of practice to reduce the spread of misinformation online.
Under the voluntary code, they commit to identifying and stopping unidentified accounts, or “bots”, disseminating content; informing users of the origins of content; and publishing an annual transparency report, among other measures.
(Reporting by Byron Kaye and Colin Packham; Editing by Sam Holmes and Hugh Lawson)
GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback
By Pushkala Aripaka and Matthias Blamont
(Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi on Monday said they had started a new clinical trial of their protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, reviving their efforts against the pandemic after a setback in December delayed the shot’s launch.
The British and French drugmakers aim to reach final testing in the second quarter, and if the results are conclusive, hope to see the vaccine approved by the fourth quarter after having initially targeted the first half of this year.
In December, the two groups stunned investors when they said their vaccine would be delayed towards the end of 2021 after clinical trials showed an insufficient immune response in older people.
Disappointing results were probably caused by an inadequate concentration of the antigen used in the vaccine, Sanofi and GSK said, adding that Sanofi has also started work against new coronavirus variants to help plan their next steps.
Global coronavirus infections have exceeded 110 million as highly transmissible variants of the virus are prompting vaccine developers and governments to tweak their testing and immunisation strategies.
GSK and Sanofi’s vaccine candidate uses the same recombinant protein-based technology as one of Sanofi’s seasonal influenza vaccines. It will be coupled with an adjuvant, a substance that acts as a booster to the shot, made by GSK.
“Over the past few weeks, our teams have worked to refine the antigen formulation of our recombinant-protein vaccine,” Thomas Triomphe, executive vice president and head of Sanofi Pasteur, said in a statement.
The new mid-stage trial will evaluate the safety, tolerability and immune response of the vaccine in 720 healthy adults across the United States, Honduras and Panama and test two injections given 21 days apart.
Sanofi and GSK have secured deals to supply their vaccine to the European Union, Britain, Canada and the United States. It also plans to provide shots to the World Health Organization’s COVAX programme.
To appease critics after the delay, Sanofi said earlier this year it had agreed to fill and pack millions of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from July.
Sanofi is also working with Translate Bio on another COVID-19 vaccine candidate based on mRNA technology.
(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru and Matthias Blamont in Paris; editing by Jason Neely and Barbara Lewis)
Don’t ignore “lockdown fatigue”, UK watchdog tells finance bosses
By Huw Jones
LONDON (Reuters) – Staff at financial firms in Britain are suffering from “lockdown fatigue” and their bosses are not always making sure all employees can speak up freely about their problems, the Financial Conduct Authority said on Monday.
Many staff at financial companies have been working from home since Britain went into its first lockdown in March last year to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
One year on, the challenges have evolved from adapting to working remotely to dealing with mental health issues, said David Blunt, the FCA’s head of conduct specialists.
“During this third lockdown, there has been a greater impact on mental well-being, with many people struggling with job security, caring responsibilities, home schooling, bereavements and lockdown fatigue.”
Bosses should continually revisit how they lead remote teams, he said.
“The impact of COVID-19 is creating a huge workload for those considered to be high performers, while the remote environment potentially makes it much more challenging for those who were previously considered low performers to change that perception,” Blunt told a City & Financial online event.
Companies should consider “psychological safety” or ensuring that all employees feel confident about speaking out and challenging opinions.
“We’ve heard varying reports of how successful this has been,” Blunt said.
Pressures in the financial sector were highlighted this month when accountants KPMG said its UK chairman Bill Michael had stepped aside during a probe into comments he made to staff.
The Financial Times said Michael, who later apologised for his comments, had told staff to “stop moaning” about the impact of the pandemic on their work lives.
Blunt was speaking as the FCA next month completes the full rollout of rules that force senior managers at financial firms to be personally accountable for their decisions to improve conduct standards.
There have only been a “modest” number of breaches reported to regulators so far as firms worry about being “tainted” but more cases will become public as sanctions are revealed, Blunt said.
“Regulators won’t be impressed by lowballing the figures.”
(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
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