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Fearing reputation loss, banks under-reporting cyberattacks

British banks are afraid that if they disclose the full picture of the cyberattacks they're under, they might suffer public backlash resulting in reputational damage and loss of customers.  That's why they never fully report when they're under cyberattack. And the attacks are getting more frequent. This is all according to Reuters (opens in new tab), who cites Israeli-based cyber security firm Illusive Networks, Barclays, and others. 

Illusive Networks Chief Executive Officer, Shlomo Touboul, says banks aren't exactly doing anything illegal. In the UK, they're not obliged to reveal everything. "There is a grey area...Banks are in general fulfilling their legal obligations but there is also a moral requirement to warn customers of potential losses and to share information with the industry,” Ryan Rubin, UK Managing Director, Security & Privacy at consultant Protiviti, said.  

Troels Oerting, Group Chief Information Security Officer at Barclays and former head of Europol's Cyber Crime Unit, describes his amazement at all the information banks had, once he switched from Europol. "When I moved from law enforcement to banking and saw what banks knew, the amount of information at their disposal, I thought 'wow', I never had that before.” 

"Banks are dramatically under-reporting attacks, they do what's legally required but out of embarrassment or fear of punishment they aren't giving the whole picture," an anonymous source told Reuters. Back in 2014, there have been a total of five reported attacks on financial institutions in Britain. 

This year, we’re already at 75, according to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).      

Image source: Shutterstock/MaximP

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.