Cyberattacks: 63% of banks pay the ransoms

Destructive attacks, theft of strategic documents, a proliferation of ransomware, these viruses that block access to systems until a ransom is paid… The fifth report from VMware, an American IT company that weighs more than 40 billion dollars euros, published on Wednesday 20 April, is out of place.

It is based on questionnaires submitted to IT security managers from 130 financial institutions, 70% of which are based in Europe and North America.

A growing share of economic espionage

“All fraud is on the rise! », warns Tom Kellermann, head of cybersecurity strategy at VMware. Traditional transfer fraud has increased by 71%. Ransomware is also very popular with hackers: in 63% of cases, banks pay. The risk of not paying is to see the systems paralyzed, like the attack in 2021 on the Colonial Pipeline, which had cut off the supply of the American pipeline.

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Hackers are now also looking for more sophisticated information. “Cybercriminal cartels have realized that the most valuable assets of a financial institution are not bank transfers or access to funds, but market information that is not made public”, notes the report. Future IPOs or portfolio strategies are thus targeted.

Two-thirds of those surveyed say they have been victims of this type of economic espionage. “The most important actors behind these cyberattacks are linked to rogue states”, details Tom Kellermann. The majority of the actors questioned point to the responsibility of Russia and in particular of the Conti group, reputed to be close to power.

Cryptocurrencies are also targeted

Last novelty, cryptocurrency portfolios, which have become essential assets for the diversification of these financial institutions, are also concerned, via the digital portfolios hosted by the exchange platforms which are victims of attacks.

The interdependence of networks and the pooling by banks of a certain number of tasks weaken the system. The outsourcing of part of the IT activities thus makes it possible to serve as a gateway from one bank to another: 60% of the financial institutions surveyed declare that they have experienced an upsurge in these so-called island to island” in the year.

To stem the phenomenon, the report calls on financial institutions to increase their budget against cyberattacks, which represents only 12% of their IT expenditure.


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