In an era dominated by digital transactions and remote operations, ensuring the financial integrity of organizations has become increasingly critical. The rapid advancement of technology has brought about tremendous benefits, making financial transactions faster, more efficient, and more convenient.

However, this digital transformation has also opened up new avenues for cybercriminals to exploit system vulnerabilities, posing significant challenges to finance professionals worldwide.

To shed light on this pressing issue, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) recently shared insights from industry experts.

Kevin Foo, a chartered accountant with ICAEW and head of financial services at KPMG Malaysia, emphasized the dynamic nature of cyber threats in today’s digital age. “The security of financial institutions and the data they hold is marked by escalating threats and evolving challenges,” said Foo.

“These institutions, entrusted with highly sensitive data such as personal and financial information, are prime targets for cybercriminals who are constantly refining their tactics.”

One of the most alarming trends highlighted by ICAEW’s industry experts is the increasing sophistication of cyber attackers. According to KPMG’s annual survey with global banking sector CEOs, there is declining confidence in preparedness against cyber threats, with 40% of organizations citing the increasing sophistication of cyber attackers as a major concern.

This sentiment underscores the urgent need for financial institutions to bolster their cybersecurity measures.

Nicholas Tay, assistant vice president of the Advisory team at Mizuho Bank Malaysia’s Business Coordination Planning Department and an ICAEW member, highlighted the significant impact of cybersecurity breaches on financial professionals.

With the adoption of technology in the banking and finance sector, potential risks have evolved to include rising levels of cybersecurity threats. Financial institutions are now racing to adopt and implement the latest cybersecurity technologies to provide enhanced assurance to their customers.

Ubaid Mustafa Qadiri, KPMG’s Technology, Risk, and Cybersecurity executive director, delved into specific cyber threats facing organizations today. He identified account takeovers, data breaches, ransomware attacks, denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, and supply chain attacks as some of the most concerning threats.

Qadiri stressed the critical importance of identifying and addressing these threats to protect sensitive customer data and mitigate financial losses.

When it comes to prevalent scams targeting organizations and financial institutions, Qadiri highlighted tactics such as phishing, QR code phishing, business email compromise (BEC), and account takeover fraud.

He emphasized the need for organizations to remain vigilant and educate their employees and clients about common cyber scams to prevent unauthorized access and financial fraud.

To mitigate the risks posed by cyber threats, organizations must adopt a multi-faceted approach that encompasses both technological solutions and robust risk management strategies, according to Nicholas.

Kevin stressed the importance of regular communication, leadership buy-in, and external education initiatives to foster cybersecurity awareness. He suggested adopting a mindset that views cybersecurity as a source of growth and market edge, encouraging organizations to leverage advanced technologies and cultivate a strong culture of cybersecurity awareness.

In the fight against cybercrime, collaboration and knowledge sharing are key weapons in the arsenal of finance professionals. By sharing information and best practices, organizations can stay one step ahead of cybercriminals and strengthen their collective defenses.

Collaboration within the industry can enhance resilience against cyber threats, with initiatives such as threat intelligence sharing platforms and common cybersecurity standards.


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