By Lisa Baergen, director at NuData Security
Notorious hacker network Anonymous recently launched a month-long campaign targeting the global banking industry.
According to an article in Fortune, members of the secretive group of activists and hackers went after the Bank of Greece in May of this year, taking down the site for a few minutes and launching the first punch in a series of high stakes showdowns between global bank security systems and the infamous hacker network.
Several other high profile attacks have since followed over the last month in what Anonymous calls Operation Icarus. The group has so far claimed successful attacks on 9 other central banks, including the Central Bank of Mexico and Cyprus. Next on the hit list are the Bank of England, the World Bank, IMF, the US Federal Reserve and 160 other national banks. Anonymous vows to continue the project for 30 days, culminating in attacks on NASDAQ, NYSE, and PayPal.
The group appears to have joined forces with another hacker group, Ghost Squad Hackers. The objective appears to be to create chaos in the global banking industry and is “a retaliation to the 1%” as “elite banking cartels [are] putting the world in a perpetual state of chaos”, says hacker ‘s1ege’ who claims to be affiliated with the hacker collective GSH participating in the takedown.
These attacks on banking websites might take the site down for a few minutes or longer, depending on the level of penetration and severity and, while the attack may not be long by our standards, it can cost the banks millions — making the threat very real. Adding this to the perception that bank security is vulnerable it can’t help but hurt bank brands globally whose reputations rely on consumer trust.
This is just one more reminder that banks need to make it imperative to put a robust security strategy in place, and one that looks beyond the device or static data. No further reminders should be needed at this point. The cold, hard truth is that hackers have openly declared war, have scheduled their attacks and operationalised large-scale collaborative hacking projects. There is no doubt they can and will attack again.
In 2015, for example, we identified that a staggering 45 percent of new accounts created across our financial services and e-commerce clients (including some of the largest banks and merchants globally) are fraudulent attempts. Fortunately, those attempts can and are thwarted thanks to pre-transactional early detection using our passive biometric technology.
With industry estimates that account takeover and account creation fraud will increase by 60 percent in the next three years, it is more important than ever for financial institutions to have solutions that identify and prevent these attempts, ensuring that a company’s losses don’t escalate while also providing a white glove experience to legitimate consumers. Organisations that transact online know that they need to adapt to keep up with attackers who are constantly shifting tactics and attack vectors.
The proven way to outsmart fraudsters and hackers is through accessing the combined data obtained from observable behavioural signals from the time of login or account creation and throughout the user’s online lifecycle. Some solutions can also access the combined intelligence of their behavioural network (consortium) to further aid in determining who is, and who is not, behaving like a genuine user. In this way the software functions like a “good user detector” and the baddies are just filtered out of the equation organically as part of the process.
The bottom line is that the onus is on financial institutions to continue to improve their techniques in order to stop the latest fraud methods, and in this case Hacktivists, from plaguing their business. NuData Security can help security teams at big global banks sleep better at night by providing them a way to filter these bad actors right out of the picture, and do it in a way that’s invisible to the end-customer and to the hackers – evading the invitation for them to hack.
In recent years banks have suffered huge blows to their reputations and can redeem much of that by taking steps that not only put on a security show for customers, but actually improve security and customer happiness. Harnessing the power of behavioural and biometric analytic technology empowers banks to focus on how to treat good customers well at the same time as keeping them safer.
Commerzbank to lose 1.7 million clients by 2024 – Welt am Sonntag
FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Commerzbank expects to lose 1.7 million customers by 2024 as part of its current restructuring, resulting in a 300 million euro ($364 million) hit to revenue, weekly Welt am Sonntag reported, citing sources close to the bank.
The lender hopes to offset the drop by growing its loan business as well as by expanding its business with corporate and very wealthy clients, the report said, without giving any further detail of why customer numbers were expected to decline.
It also didn’t say if any specific category of client was most likely to be lost.
Commerzbank declined to comment.
According to the bank’s website it serves around 11.6 million private and small-business customers in Germany and more than 70,000 corporate and other institutional clients worldwide, so the reported loss of customers would suggest a drop of around 15%.
The bank earlier this month reported a $3.3 billion fourth-quarter loss, sinking further into the red as it continued a major restructuring and dealt with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bank’s restructuring plan involves cutting 10,000 jobs and closing hundreds of branches in the hope it can remain independent.
($1 = 0.8253 euros)
(Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Tom Sims; Editing by David Holmes)
Citigroup considering divestiture of some foreign consumer units – Bloomberg Law
(Reuters) – Citigroup Inc is considering divesting some international consumer units, Bloomberg Law reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The discussions are around divesting units across retail banking in the Asia-Pacific region, the report https://bit.ly/3pD57WP said.
“As our incoming CEO Jane Fraser said in January, we are undertaking a dispassionate and thorough review of our strategy,” a Citigroup spokesperson told Reuters.
“Many different options are being considered and we will take the right amount of time before making any decisions.”
The move, part of Fraser’s attempt to simplify the bank, can see units in South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Australia being divested, the Bloomberg report said.
However, no decision has been made, according to the report.
Revenue from Citi’s consumer banking business in Asia declined 15% to $1.55 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020.
The divestitures could be spaced out over time or the bank could end up keeping all of its existing units, the Bloomberg report said.
The firm is also reviewing consumer operations in Mexico, though a sale there is less likely, the report said, citing one of the people.
Last month, New York-based Citigroup beat profit estimates but issued a gloomy forecast for expenses. Finance head Mark Mason said the lender’s expenses could rise in 2021 in the range of 2% to 3%, weighing on its operating margins. (https://reut.rs/2ZwXRB1)
(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)
European shares end higher on strong earnings, positive data
By Sagarika Jaisinghani and Ambar Warrick
(Reuters) – Euro zone shares rose on Friday, marking a third week of gains, as data showed factory activity in February jumped to a three-year high, while upbeat quarterly earnings boosted confidence in a broader economic recovery.
The euro zone index was up 0.9%, with strong earnings from companies such as Acciona and Hermes brewing some optimism over an eventual economic recovery.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.5%, as regional factory activity was seen reaching a three-year high on strong demand for manufactured goods at home and overseas.
Another reading showed the euro zone’s current account surplus widened in December on a rise in trade surplus and a narrower deficit in secondary income.
Still, the STOXX 600 marked small gains for the week, having dropped for the past three sessions as investor concern grew over rising inflation and a rocky COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
But basic resources stocks outpaced their peers this week with a 7% jump, as improving industrial activity across the globe drove up commodity prices.
“This week’s slightly adverse price action has all the hallmarks of a loss of momentum temporarily and not a structural turn,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
“There is not a major central bank in the world thinking about taking their foot off the monetary spigot, except perhaps China. (Markets) will remain awash in zero percent central bank money through all of 2021 (and) a lot of that will head to the equity market.”
Minutes of the European Central Bank’s January meeting, released on Thursday, showed policymakers expressed fresh concerns over the euro’s strength but appeared relaxed over the recent rise in government bond yields.
The bank’s relaxed stance was justified by the euro zone economy requiring continued monetary and fiscal support, as evidenced by a contraction in the bloc’s dominant services industry in February.
The STOXX 600 has rebounded more than 50% since crashing to multi-year lows in March 2020, with hopes of a global economic rebound this year sparking demand for sectors such as energy, mining, banks and industrial goods.
London’s FTSE 100 lagged regional bourses on Friday due to a slump in January retail sales and as the pound jumped to its highest against the dollar in nearly three years. [.L] [GBP/]
French carmaker Renault tumbled more than 4% after posting a record annual loss of 8 billion euros ($9.68 billion), while food group Danone and German insurer Allianz rose following upbeat trading forecasts.
(Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Shailesh Kuber)
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