Fintech Cyber Attacks

It now appears that cyberattacks were responsible for shut downs of major marketplaces during the late summer of last year. The attacks hit the US Dow Jones and S&P 500 shares, the London stocks on the FTSE 100 and the FTSE 250, and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, all in August and September. The rise of cybercrime is also evident in the way bank automatic teller machines went down in Britain over the holiday season, and most recently the way a major UK foreign exchange dealer, Travelex, which works for banks, had to shut its website because of hacking and a ransomeware demand. In Germany there was an attack on ATMs nearly daily during 2019, a new record according to the Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung.

This is worrying because unlike the world wide web, where everyone knows that security is lax, stock market sites, bank ATMs, and forex sites are closed systems, operated separately from the web. In theory this insures greater security. But because of how expensive it is to write software and run systems, the financial world is increasingly relying on Third World personnel to do these tasks. There are many examples of financial bigshots with huge salaries going rogue and being locked up in jail. How much greater the temptation to an underpaid staffer in India, The Philippines, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, or China to look for a way to cash in over foreigners problems involving sums beyond their local dreams of avarice?

While the Travelex cyberhack was attributed to high frequency traders who gamed the system, it is not certain that the ransom seekers are the actual miscreants. Since the word is out about how Travelex is down, any smart tech can be trying to get the money.

I think this the a key negative for finance and tech in 2020.

Disclosure: None.

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Comments

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Charles Howard 2 months ago Member's comment

It may not be good for tech, but it's very good for the cyber security industry.

Vivian Lewis 2 months ago Author's comment

yes but in fact it is a pain in the butt when your brokerage account locks you out because you are visiting relatives in Britain even though you know your ID and password--just as a precaution of course. so you have to phone long distance on your sister-in-law's phone to clear it up and that makes you a bad guest. this is based on my experience. most cyber security interventions are stupid.

vivian

Danny Straus 2 months ago Member's comment

I'll agree with that. I've had so many similar situations! It's like these companies make it impossible for the real owner to get access, and yet crooks seem to have no trouble.