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The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warns that firms should be aware of the threat, able to defend themselves effectively, and respond proportionately to cyber events. Firms need to have full detection capabilities and be aware that malware may hide in a system for a long period of time before activating itself.
One of the chief threats to the sector comes from poor approaches to data management in notoriously disjoined IT systems. All institutions need to obtain a firmer grasp of security so they understand the challenges and are in a position to manage their defences effectively – even when outsourcing their data storage. Other significant threats come from malware-laden phishing emails and laxity among inadequately trained staff.
As retailers engage with customers through ever more channels, not only are they accumulating more data, they are also providing many more potential entry-points for criminals seeking to steal information. The growth of apps, mobile point-of-sale systems and payment solutions, and the explosion of online commerce have all opened up new angles and vulnerabilities for criminals to target.
DDos attacks are a particular threat to retailers, especially at times of peak demand when criminals or activists seek to bring down a website, often with the aim of disguising an attempt to gain entry to a system.
Specific families of malware are also being employed to penetrate retailers’ data stores, so threat intelligence is essential, but so too is access to cyber security skills. Retailers are also at risk from malicious insiders and from poorly trained staff who fail to observe basic security protocols.
A single breach can be enough to destroy an organisation working in the legal sector, which has a reputation for confidentiality, thoroughness and integrity. As service-providers, law firms are also seen by advanced persistent threat (APT) groups as potential backdoors into the data systems of major clients.
With large volumes of complex documents being exchanged as file attachments every day, email phishing attacks remain a very potent threat to the security of law firms, the majority of which will have scant expertise in protecting expanding volumes of data either on-premises or in the cloud.
The increasingly globalised nature of work for many firms also puts them at risk from lax procedures or inadequate technology at their overseas clients or partners. Threat intelligence can help organisations shift their security posture to reduce risks, but secure data storage will always be utterly essential for everyone in the UK legal sector.
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