While financial services organizations have always been a target for sophisticated criminals, cyber adversaries’ capabilities are breaking new ground as they advance rapidly. In our latest Accenture cyber threat intelligence research, we point to several key threats that, when combined, lay the groundwork for multistage, multiparty attacks that could result in a new wave of extreme cyber attack scenarios for financial services.

Our report, “Future cyber threats: Extreme but plausible threat scenarios in Financial Services,” [PDF] describes each of five key threats in their earlier and current forms and examines how they could evolve in the future. We explore:

  1. Credential and identity theft
  2. Data theft and manipulation
  3. Disruptive and destructive malware
  4. Emerging technologies: Blockchain, cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence
  5. Disinformation

By understanding the past and anticipating the future nature of threats, we aim to help financial services organizations to be better prepared. Here are five actions financial services organizations may wish to consider in the face of new threats and adversaries:

  1. Collaborate with peers and third parties on multistage exercises.
  2. Invest in people, processes and tools that identify potential disinformation concerning their firms.
  3. Strengthen insider threat programs to detect and prevent malicious adversaries from gaining access to key systems and data.
  4. Improve online accountability through threat informed approaches to authentication and authorization.
  5. Simulate adversarial threats using disinformation, emerging technologies and compromised corporate credentials.

With a long history of collaboration, we are certain that now, more than ever, financial services organizations need to come together to address security and resilience challenges. As they maintain this spirit of collaboration and gain momentum—both within the sector and with governments around the world—they can secure the trust that is essential to the success and sustainability of the whole financial system.


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Valerie Abend

Managing Director – Accenture Security, Global Financial Services Security Lead

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