Cyber attacks on banks grew 118% in past 12 months

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Wednesday, 14 April, 2021

Cyber attacks on banks grew 118% in past 12 months

Banks worldwide are experiencing a marked increase in destructive attacks in the wake of growing geopolitical tension, according to VMware’s fourth annual Modern Bank Heists report.

More than half (54%) of banks surveyed by VMware for the annual report experienced destructive attacks in the past 12 months, up 118% from the previous report.

The survey also found that 57% of financial institutions experienced an increase in wire transfer fraud, 41% experienced an increase in brokerage account takeover and 41% observed the manipulation of time stamps by cybercriminals.

The report also identified a 13% increase in the prevalence of “island hopping” attacks, involving commandeering an organisation’s information supply chain to attack the institution from within the trusted chain. Nearly four in ten (38%) institutions experienced such an attack, and this result excludes the high-profile SolarWinds campaign, which respondents were explicitly asked to exclude.

Another notable trend was that 51% of surveyed financial institutions experienced attacks that targeted market strategies, such as infiltrating non-public market information to facilitate digital inside trading and front running.

“Today, financial institutions are facing a wave of custom-developed malware as well as the now prevalent fileless attack,” the report states.

“These malware types are often used in longer, more complex campaigns where the end goal is to leverage native operating system tools to remain invisible or gain a foothold on one system (sometimes a supply chain partner) to island hop to a larger, more lucrative target.”

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