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Reports Show an Increase in Cyberattacks on Financial Institutions

A collection of reports on cyber activity shows that financial institutions are increasingly the target of cyber criminals. According to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report, in 2015 the financial sector ranked number two among the top five high-level sectors breached by number of identities exposed and data breach incidents. The report also found that in 2015, the finance sector was the most targeted for spear-phishing (attacking an organization by using an infected document attached to email), with 34.9 percent of all spear-phishing e-mail directed at the finance sector -- 15 percentage points higher than in the previous year. Similarly, the Verizon 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report, which features incidents affecting organizations in 82 countries and across a myriad of industries, reported 1,368 confirmed breaches and nearly 800 security incidents targeted at the financial sector in the past year.  Beazley, a leading provider of data breach response insurance, reported that ransomware attacks are soaring in 2016 and that financial institutions are facing a higher proportion of breaches involving hacking and malware. For instance, in the first nine months of 2016 hacking and malware breaches accounted for 39% of the data breaches suffered by financial institutions, up from 26% for the comparable period in 2015.