Increase in cyberattacks on European financial services

Akamai research has found that the number of cyberattacks on European financial services has more than doubled during 2023

A recent study has shown that financial services has surpassed gaming as the top vertical for DDoS attacks. Akamai Technologies, a cloud-based company dedicated to safeguarding life online, has unveiled a new report delving into both established and evolving cyber threats that are targeting the financial services sector. 

This latest publication, titled "The High Stakes of Innovation: Trends in Cyberattacks Against Financial Services," has uncovered a concerning trend: Financial services rank as the third most targeted industry within the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region. The report reveals a staggering surge of 1 billion web application and API attacks, marking a substantial 119% year-over-year increase when comparing Q2 2022 to Q2 2023.

In EMEA, insurance is significantly the most attacked sub-vertical of financial services with 54.5% of all web attacks, representing a 68% increase year over year. Insurance companies hold a huge amount of personal information, which makes them an attractive target for cybercriminals in contrast with other financial services organisations that hold mostly financial data.

The report additionally reveals that the EMEA region experienced the most DDoS attack events, constituting 63.5% of global attacks, a figure nearly twice as high as North America, the subsequent leading region at 32.6%. The United Kingdom stands out as the top contributor within EMEA, accounting for 29.2% of DDoS attack incidents, closely followed by Germany at 15.1%. 

Akamai surmises that these attacks on European banks, which have affiliations with Ukraine, are driven by both financial and political motives, with Russia's ongoing conflict in Ukraine being the primary catalyst for the upsurge in attack incidents within the EMEA region.

Other key findings of the report include:
  • DDoS attacks on financial services between January 2022 and June 2023 in EMEA equated to 1,466 of the 2,590 attack events across all verticals in EMEA, and resulted in a 40% increase year over year in DDoS attacks when comparing Q2 2022 with Q2 2023
  • DDoS attack events against the gambling, commerce, and manufacturing verticals in EMEA each also exceeded all other regions combined
  • 24% of the scripts used by financial services organisations in EMEA come from third parties, which is notably lower than in other verticals (36%)

“As cybercriminals continue to follow the money, financial services remain a hugely attractive target. At the same, this is one of the most regulated sectors and hence it is essential for companies to align their security strategy with emerging laws and regulations,” said Richard Meeus, Akamai’s Director of Security Technology and Strategy, EMEA. “The High Stakes of Innovation: Attack Trends in Financial Services aims to provide insights that will equip this sector with the tools needed to improve security for their customers.”

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