Financial services most attacked sector in EMEA

Written by Hannah McGrath
12/04/2019

Cyber criminals are targeting financial services firms more than any other sector, with a new report finding that finance accounted for 30 per cent of all attacks in the last year.

A global threat intelligence report from NTT Security, based on billions of data points from organisations in 18 industry sectors across its security network, revealed that finance has knocked business and professional services from the top spot in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) cyber attack rankings for the 12 months between October 2017 and September 2018.

Business and professional services firms accounted for 24 per cent of all attacks in the EMEA, while on a global scale, financial services accounted for 17 per cent of cyber attacks. In the region, technology firms were the third most targeted, accounting for 17 per cent and manufacturing nine per cent.

Web application attacks were the main culprit, accounting for over 43 per cent of hostile activity against these sectors, which is well above the global average of 32 per cent. These attacks most often rely on leveraging an exposed unpatched vulnerability or misconfigured system, targeting organisations with high volumes of sensitive data, NTT said.

The financial services sector in EMEA experienced a sizeable increase in web attacks, almost doubling from 22 per cent to 43 per cent over the last year, which NTT suggested the sector’s vulnerability to cyber security attacks.

Similarly, manufacturing experienced a massive surge in web attacks on a global scale - rising from nine per cent to 42 per cent - although the overall attack volume across EMEA decreased.

Attacks from sources within China against all targets in EMEA dropped nearly 40 per cent to 13 per cent – following closely behind the United States at 16 per cent.

The top five attacked sectors in EMEA experienced more attacks from within EMEA than from any other region - 75 per cent – supporting the common notion that attackers tend to leverage attack sources near their targets, an observation which was demonstrated stronger in EMEA than other regions.

Kai Grunwitz, senior vice president at NTT Security EMEA, said: “Finance is yet again on the top spot when it comes to targeted attacks, which surely is enough evidence to convince the board that cyber security is a must-have investment.

“While legacy methods and tools are still quite effective at providing a solid foundation for mitigation, new attack methods are constantly being developed by malicious actors.”