In the financial services industry, recent reports indicate that cyber-attackers are orchestrating more phishing and other campaigns designed to penetrate financial institution networks to access internal resources and deploy ransomware. Ransomware is a type of malware designed to provide an unauthorized actor access to institutions’ systems and to deny the institutions use of those systems until a ransom is paid. 

The SEC has seen an increase of ransomware attacks on SEC registrants, which include broker-dealers, investment advisers, and investment companies. The cyber-attackers behind these attacks typically demand compensation (ransom) to maintain the integrity and/or confidentiality of customer data or for the return of control over registrant systems. The cyber-attackers also penetrate third-party providers that provide services to the financial institutions.

Financial Service firms are encouraged to monitor cybersecurity alerts published by the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), including the updated alert published on June 30, 2020 relating to recent ransomware attacks.

Regulators encourage Firms to ensure they have an incident response team in place to respond to any form of ransomware or cyber-attacks, and ensure they have resilient policies and procedures.  Firms should consider operational resiliency to restore any disruption of business as a result of a cyber-attack, manage user access to systems, ensure vulnerability scanning and patch management is implemented, and most importantly, provide awareness and training to your financial professionals so they are more aware of red flags to look for as it relates to cyber threats. 

Does your Firm have a cyber-security plan in place in the event of a ransomware or cyber-attack? If not, reach out to us and find out how Northpoint Consulting can help.