Brian Caplen blog 2016

As online Sibos 2020 gets underway with the tagline ‘driving the evolution of smart finance’, bankers are concerned about risks in the Covid-19 payments’ environment – top of their list is cyber risk.

Santander latest's TV commercial in the UK uses the zany comedy duo Ant and Dec to grab attention and then goes on to offer customers ‘free virtual scam awareness events.’

The bank is addressing a Covid 19 reality: with many more people working from home as well as feeling under additional stress, the fraud opportunity for criminals has ratcheted up.

In typical fashion, criminals lost no time in reorienting their scams towards the current crisis including offering fake financial support in order to extract bank details as well as fake investment opportunities.

So far banks are not reporting a huge uptick in financial crime as a result of the crisis but there are concerns that the proliferation of phishing attacks, even if thwarted, will undermine customer confidence. Hence, the need to put in place schemes that address the issue directly with customers, help keep them safe and maintain trust.

With many more people working from home as well as feeling under additional stress, the fraud opportunity for criminals has ratcheted up

Whereas CEOs may have sleepless nights about headline-grabbing incidents such as when a hacker manages to steal millions of credit card details or take a bank’s systems offline until a ransom is paid, it is the drip drip of low-level incidences that could be more damaging to confidence in the long run.

Among a number of Sibos sessions looking at cyber risk is one on the problem of marshalling sufficient resources to fight cybercrime and another on managing risks when staff are working from home. In the September issue of The Banker with content aimed at the Sibos meeting, we took a look at the three big cyber risks – phishing, Malware and data leakages – and asked bankers how they were coping with these in the current environment.

This year there are no Sibos corridors to overhear industry chatter but it’s more or less a given that, in whatever online forum discussions do take place, cyber risk will be a major talking point.

Brian Caplen is the editor of The Banker. Follow him on Twitter @BrianCaplen

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