Cyber incidents reported to the UK's Financial Conduct Authority in 2021 are up by over 50%, with a fifth involving ransom software.

In total, the FCA received 116 reports of material cyber security incidents in 2021, up from 76 in 2020.

According to the FCA, an incident may be material if it:

• results in a significant loss of data
• results in the unavailability or control of IT systems
• affects a large number of customers
• results in unauthorised access to information systems

The data, obtained from a Freedom of Information reqest from Picus Security, revealed that approximately one third of incident reports contained notifications where the confidentiality of company or personal data may have been compromised or breached. One in five of all breaches involved ransomware.

March was the busiest month for the FCA, with 21 cyber incidents reported, coinciding with the disclosure of critical vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server.

A recent report by the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-Isac) warned that the teutonic shift to digital banking is laying firms open to ransomware and supply chain attacks, as well as a resurgence of banking trojans and distributed denial of service (DDoS) threats.

Suleyman Ozarslan, Picus Security co-founder and VP of Picus Labs, says: “The large rise in cyber incidents reported to the FCA in 2021 is a concerning trend and should serve as an important reminder to all firms about the need to make ongoing improvements in all areas of security. This is necessary to not only mitigate the risks posed by external threats but also those which arise due to IT failures and human error.”

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