Security Experts:

Spending on Financial Infrastructure Security To Reach $17.4 Billion By 2017

It’s no surprise that due to the nature of data held by financial institutions, they are constantly under cyber-attack as attackers look to steal everything from credit card numbers to sensitive personal information that can be used for Identity theft and other forms of financial fraud. With these constant attacks and an increasingly complex threat landscape, financial organizations are scrambling to lock down networks and sensitive data as quickly and effectively as possible.

According to recent forecasts from market research firm ABI Research, global spending on financial critical infrastructure security will total $17.14 billion by the end of 2017. This includes spending on counter measures, transaction, and data security, as well as on policies and procedures, the firm said.

“A strong underground economy is emerging; run by highly organized cyber-criminal elements that are creating targeted and sophisticated malware destined for financial attacks,” ABI Research explained in a statement. “Exploit kits, banking Trojans, and botnets are used in combination with social engineering tactics in persistent and highly evolved attacks. These tools are being eagerly picked up by an even more threatening group – nation states. Warring states will undoubtedly start to use these tools as cyber weapons to bring down enemy economies."

According to a recent study conducted on behalf of Kaspersky Lab, approximately 50 percent of organizations globally don’t take effective measures against the most pressing threats that exist today. The study, which included responses from more than 3,300 senior IT professionals from 22 countries, discovered that a “significant number” of key IT specialists were unaware of the most common cyber threats, while 31 percent admitted that they had never heard of many of the headline grabbing cyber attacks that pose major threats to their organization. Businesses are not the only ones underestimating cyber-threats these days.

Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, recently told attendees at a student cyber-security conference and competition at NYU-Poly that even governments still don't understand how dangerous cyber-weapons really are.

As financial institutions focus on defending against as many threat vectors as possible, deploying the best and the latest security mechanisms has played a critical role and will continue to moving forward.

“Banks and other financial institutions are always a step behind, despite deploying some of the most advanced cyber security solutions available on the market,” Michela Menting, cyber security senior analyst at ABI Research said in a statement.

“The lack of larger-scale cooperation and intelligence sharing in the financial sector is a huge disadvantage in combating cyber threats," Menting added. "While cyber-criminals are actively sharing tools and information about vulnerabilities, banks are trying their best to cover up breaches and save their reputation." 

According to its analysis, ABI Research expects financial institutions, merchants, and governments to increase investment in R&D, in collaboration with security vendors, in order to extend their security capabilities beyond the traditional infrastructure to a more pro-active intelligence gathering approach.

"With the increasing digitization of critical infrastructure, sectors such as energy and healthcare will inevitably become vulnerable to the same threats,"
Menting said.

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.