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AFP survey finds 88% of organisations targeted by cybercrime in past 18 months

Financial professionals have significantly stepped up cybersecurity defence over the past three years as cybercriminals increase their efforts to breach organisations, according to the 2019 Association for Financial Professionals Cyberrisk Survey, underwritten by Wells Fargo.

Conducted in October at AFP 2019 in Boston, the survey garnered 433 responses, of which 88% were from corporate treasury and finance professionals. Responses received from those practitioners form the basis of the report.

Fully 88% of corporate practitioners revealed that their organisations have been targeted by attempted or actual cyberattacks in the past 18 months. This suggests that those committing the attacks are not discouraged by increasing safeguards and measures being put in place, or the consequences that they might face.

Nearly 80% of survey respondents believe that the most severe consequence of a cyberbreach at their companies has been or will be financial losses, and 39% are concerned about the loss of reputation arising from a cyberattack. Financial losses will impact the bottom line, and most organisations are vulnerable to this risk. While reputational loss may seem to be a greater risk to high-profile organisations, even lesser-known businesses are concerned about the impact of a cyberbreach among their suppliers and customers.

“Treasury and financial leaders are well aware that the ‘new normal’ is operating in an environment where cyberattacks are frequent and cybercriminals are relentless in their efforts,” said Jim Kaitz, president and CEO of the Association for Financial Professionals. “To stay one step ahead, corporate practitioners need to have measures in place that can detect attacks at an early stage, which includes educating and training employees.”

Financial leaders are cognisant of the risks that cyberattacks pose to their organisations and are taking steps to mitigate those risks.  An overwhelming majority of corporate practitioners (90%) report that the emphasis on cybersecurity at their organisations has increased in the past three years.

“Reliable cybersecurity prevention and detection capabilities are critical to a strong cybersecurity defense,” said Gary Owen, chief information security officer, Wells Fargo. “Operating within a secure environment is essential to maintaining our customers’ trust and improving the customer experience.”

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