There’s no doubt about it; cybercrime represents one of the single biggest threats to Britain’s economy and financial markets in the digital age. In fact, there were an estimated 3.6 million cases of cyber fraud in 2016 alone, and a further two million instances of computer misuse offences.
This represented an 8% year-on-year increase in the rate of cyber crime, and this trend is likely to continue as technological advancement continues abound and the threat becomes increasingly sophisticated.
In one recent instance, seven of the UK’s leading banks were allegedly targeted through large-scale and systematic cyber-attacks. In the article below, we’ll look at this in further detail while asking why this should serve as a major concern for private lenders in 2018.
How were the UK’s Banks Targetted?
The recent offensive included a staggering total of more than four million cyber-attacks, which impacted on various regions and businesses across the globe. Among the victims were seven of Britain’s most prominent banks, whose defences were partially breached despite boasting the most advanced security and encryption imaginable.
This not only highlights the increased sophistication of cyber criminals in the modern age, but it also highlights how much the threat has evolved in less than a decade. While cyber thieves once focused their attention almost exclusively on individuals and small businesses, many now have the knowledge and resources to target large corporations and international banking institutes.
At the heart of this attack was a single website, which has subsequently been identified and closed down by a multinational operation led by Britain and their partners in the Netherlands.
Webstresser.org, which boasted 136,000 registered users and could be rented for as little as £10 for the launch of harmful DDoS attacks, has now been seized while the precise threat is now neutralised. These attacks, which leverage high volumes of Internet traffic to disable targeted computer networks, can be extremely disruptive and enable hackers to access large swathes of data in a relatively short period of time.
New threats will emerge in the near-term, of course, meaning that banks and law enforcement agencies will need to maintain a proactive approach in the ongoing fight against cyber-crime and online fraud.
What Does this Mean for Private Lenders?
This should come as a significant wake-up call to the nation’s army of short-term and unsecured lenders, who are responsible for a growing share of the consumer borrowing market in the UK.
After all, while many of these firms may well boast relatively impressive levels of encryption, they lack the resources of international banks and may therefore be more susceptible to cyber-attacks in the future. Not only are hackers increasingly inclined to target lucrative lenders in the private sector, for example, but their relative lack of security could make it hard for them to repel a sophisticated and sustained DDoS attack.
This is why private lenders must also adopt a proactive approach to combating cyber-crime, while increasing their investment in the very latest encryption and security measures.