FDIC: Banks Reporting More Sophisticated Cyber Attacks Since Start of Pandemic

Since the start of the pandemic, banks have reported more sophisticated cyber attacks, said Lisa Arquette, associate director of the FDIC’s anti-money laundering and cyber fraud division at an industry event today. The more sophisticated attacks are the result of several factors, Arquette said, including an increase in bank employees working remotely and more customers accessing digital banking services.

A specific threat the FDIC is currently prioritizing, she added, is potential cyberattacks stemming from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the potential of hacking into U.S. institutions and ransomware attacks.

The FDIC is “very focused” on cyber attacks—especially ransomware—Arquette said. She added that the agency has cohosted a ransomware event for banks and that it encourages banks “to apply effective cybersecurity, risk management and mitigation principles to reduce the risk of cyber attacks success and to minimize negative impacts.”

Malicious actors are attacking bank authentication security to gain access to customer information as well as deploy ransomware and initiate transactions, said Arquette. The effects of the attacks can disrupt core business activities, cause operational outages lock out business data and even force banks to switch to manual operations, she said.