The Stack Archive

Keep two bank accounts to beat cyber attacks, says Bank of England adviser

Thu 3 Dec 2015

Online banking

Everyone should keep two bank accounts so they can still access their money if one bank is hit by a cyber attack, a former Bank of England adviser has warned.

Peter Hahn, banking expert and academic at the Cass Business School, explained that financial cybercrime was a new and growing risk that tends not to “be discussed.” He said that although the British banking system is “certainly safer” than it has ever been in the past, cybercrime still poses a great threat.

“I’d certainly rather have two [accounts] in case my bank was attacked. I would want to know I could still get money out of the other one,” he said in an interview with BBC’s Today, ahead of the Bank of England’s latest Financial Stability Report [PDF].

According to the report, cyber risk is one of the five greatest dangers facing the UK banking industry.  The Financial Policy Committee, which produced the report, advised banks to “build their resilience to cyber attack, develop the ability to recover quickly from attacks, and ensure effective governance – which means viewing cyber risk as a strategic priority.”

The report also found that nearly half of the nation’s leading banks regarded cyber risk as a “key concern” – a 10% increase from last year.

2015 has witnessed a large number of high-profile cyber attacks, targeting consumers’ data and money. Earlier this year, many businesses and customers came under attack from the malware Dridex or Bugat, hidden in unsolicited emails. The banking trojan targeted the U.S., the UK and France in an attempt to steal millions from banking groups.

Despite a joint operation conducted by the UK’s National Crime Agency and the FBI to render the botnets harmless, Dridex is steadily regaining its strength according to security researcher Trend Micro.

“Taking down servers is a significant step in crippling botnets, but unless all infrastructure is destroyed and all threat actors are caught, threats like Dridex are bound to resurface,” said Trend Micro threat research manager Ryan Flores.


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