Cyber attacks ‘bigger threat’ than Trump or Brexit

The possibility of Donald Trump winning today’s US election and the continued uncertainty around Brexit have both come below cyber risk as the primary concern for the financial services industry, according to a new survey.

Research conducted by The Depositary Trust and Clearing Coprporation (DTCC) found that broad geopolitical risks such as the US election and Britain’s exit from the EU were among the top risks facing the global financial system.

Despite this, cyber risk remained the top overall concern, with 22 per cent of respondents citing it as the single biggest threat to the industry and 56 per cent rating it a top five issue.

The figures come just days after Tesco Bank froze online payments for current accounts after money was fraudulently withdrawn from 20,000 Tesco Bank accounts.

Other geopolitical risks that were mentioned in the report include instability in the Middle East, the impact of the ongoing refugee crisis across Europe, and the influence of Russia and China on global relations and the world economy. Respondents highlighted the unpredictable nature of world events, citing the potential for sudden escalation that could cause global market volatility and instability.

While financial services firms continue to make significant investments in cyber security defences, respondents expressed concerns that the evolving nature and sophistication of cyber attacks could place the industry at greater risk.

Michael Leibrock, managing director and chief systemic risk officer at DTCC, said: “While cyber threats and geopolitical concerns are distinct risk categories, they can also converge and materialise in combination with each other.

“Several respondents rightfully point to the growing incidence and sophistication of state-sponsored cyber attacks as a particularly worrisome trend that is emerging at the intersection of both areas of risk.”

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