Banks are being increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks, as they try to keep pace with new digital threats that threaten to destroy their data, according to the head of Australia’s largest banks.
Key points:The number of cyber attacks has grown by 50 per cent in the past yearSource: Australian Financial Regulators, April 2016The number in the financial sector has increased by a whopping 50 per year, which is more than triple the average for the financial services industrySource: Bank of America Merrill LynchThe threat to banks’ systems is “so real” they are facing “an imminent threat”, Australian Financial Reforms Commission chair Rod Sims said on Friday.
In his latest annual report, released on Friday, Sims outlined the state of Australia, which has seen a massive increase in the number of data hacks and attacks in the last five years.
“In recent years the cyber security of the banking sector has taken a major hit, as attacks have increased and the volume of data breached has increased, while the ability to recover data has been reduced,” he said.
“It is therefore imperative that banks continue to work with the law enforcement authorities and industry to protect data and assets from cyber attack and ensure that we remain resilient to future threats.”
Mr Sims said the banks have taken a “fearless approach” to fighting the growing threat, and said they had “taken an active role” in working with the government to address the issue.
“As a result, our financial system is in an extremely secure and secure environment,” he added.
The number, which he said was “probably” higher than the average in the industry, is a “real concern”, Sims said.
The Financial Services Commission has set up a taskforce to work out how to protect banks and businesses against cyber attacks.
“The number one thing we’re going to look at is how to keep the banking system secure,” Sims said, adding that the taskforce was also “pursuing the issue of cyber-security in the broader financial services sector”.
He said banks have made a concerted effort to keep their systems “secure” over the past few years, and have set up an external cyber security team.
“We are looking at a number of things, including data breaches, how we address the risk of breach, how you deal with breaches when they occur, what can we do to reduce that risk,” he told reporters.
“All of those things will be looked at as we look at how we deal with this issue.”‘
We are not at the stage where we can be totally compliant’Mr Sims stressed that banks have not “gone to the point where we are completely compliant with the [data security] requirements” and said it would be “difficult” for them to “take that step”.
“We’ve got to look really hard at the details of the banks’ compliance and what the cost of compliance would be to the sector and how much money it would cost,” he continued.
“But we are not there yet.”
In an earlier interview with ABC’s Insiders, Sims said that banks were trying to “put the right controls in place” to help keep their networks secure, and that the industry would “continue to do everything that we can” to protect customers.
“There are still a number people who may be vulnerable to the attack, whether it is banking customers or anyone else,” he explained.
“When we look around the world we find people who are vulnerable, we don’t see it happen every day.”
And so we are doing everything that our staff, and our business people are doing, to try to mitigate that.
“He added that there was “no reason why we should not have the security measures in place to help protect customers”.
He also criticised the Federal Government’s decision to abolish the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), saying it was “very likely” that banks could lose their ability to use the NCSC if the threat to their systems continues.”
This is a decision that will impact a number other industries, it will affect the ability of other industries to operate and we know it will impact the ability for us to do business in Australia,” Sims added.”
So we’ve got a big problem on our hands, and I think we’ve all got to be very careful about what we say and do.
“Mr Sim’s comments come as Australia’s banking sector faces another major threat.
Data breaches, known as data breaches or data breaches as a service (DBAS), are a growing issue in the Australian banking industry.
In the past five years, there have been more than 200,000 cyber attacks in Australia, according the Australian Bankers Association.”
Cyber security is critical in ensuring that Australian banks remain resilient and resilient against cyber threats, and for that to happen we need the right measures in the banking industry to address data security and the impact of cyber threats,” Sims told reporters on Friday morning.
The Australian Banking Association has previously been vocal in its support for the NCCC.
In a statement, the association said it