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Financial firms have seen a huge rise in Covid-related scams

(Image credit: Image Credit: Gustavo Frazao / Shutterstock)

Consumers may be on the receiving end of many Covid-19-related scams, but they’re hardly the only ones. A new research paper from BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, the cyber and intelligence arm of BAE Systems, found that financial institutions have also experienced a similar uptick in the number of Covid-19-themed attacks.

Polling more than 900 financial organizations for the report, including banks and insurance providers, the company found three-quarters (74 percent) have witnessed a rise in cybercrime since the pandemic began.

Furthermore, almost half (42 percent) said the switch to remote working made them less secure. While some saw a decrease in visibility as the main pain point, others were more customer-focused, saying their customers are now at greater risk of fraud.

That risk translates mostly to monetary loss which, too, has been growing since the start of the pandemic. The report found that more than half (56 percent) of US and UK financial institutions experienced a rise in fraud-related financial losses, with the average cost sitting at $720,000.

At the same time, IT security teams are gasping for air. On average, budgets within IT security, cybercrime, fraud and risk departments have gone down by more than a quarter (26 percent). Another 40 percent have had to shrink budgets for critical IT security.

There have also been cuts in the workforce, with more than a third (36 percent) having to reduce their employee count.

“Fraudsters and cybercriminals seek to exploit fear, uncertainty and change, and the pandemic has offered them new opportunities to probe for weaknesses they can monetise and new ways to disguise their activity,” said Adrian Nish, Head of Cyber at BAE Systems Applied Intelligence.

“Attackers are building increasingly advanced capabilities to target core banking systems and becoming more aggressive, harming victims’ ability to respond to attacks. Online criminals have reacted fast, adapting their approach to hunt out remote working security gaps and prey on the vulnerable.”