Carbon Black (NASDAQ: CBLK) and  Optiv Security have released a threat report on the financial sector: Modern Bank Heists: The Bank Robbery Shifts to Cyberspace.

The report found that 67% of financial organisations surveyed have reported an increase in cyberattacks over the past 12 months, while destructive attacks have increased 160% over the past year.

“Financial institutions are grappling with some of the most sophisticated cyber crime syndicates,” said Tom Kellermann, the report’s author and Chief Cybersecurity Officer at Carbon Black. “Perhaps the most concerning indication from this report is the stark increase in destructive attacks, which are rarely conducted for financial gain.

“Rather, these attacks are launched to be punitive by destroying data. Cybercriminals have formed sophisticated approaches to gain access to confidential banking and financial information and organisations need to be aware of the impending threats.”

For the report, Carbon Black collaborated with Optiv Security to survey financial industry customers to uncover cyber attack trends seen by some of the world’s leading CISOs to better determine how today’s sophisticated cyber criminals are hiding behind invisibility cloaks to remain undetected.

Among the key findings from the report:

  • 67% of surveyed financial organisations have reported an increase in cyber attacks over the past 12 months
  • 79% of surveyed financial institutions said cyber criminals have become more sophisticated
  • 26% of surveyed financial institutions were targeted by destructive attacks,  a 160% increase over 2018
  • 32% of surveyed financial institutions encountered island hopping through supply chain vendors and partners
  • 21% of surveyed financial institutions experienced a watering hole attack, where sites are hijacked and visitors are misled to malicious pages

“As threat actors continue to grow in sophistication and determination, it is imperative now more than ever for security leaders to evaluate their digital footprint from the perspective of the enemy,” said Bill Young, Vice President Threat Management, Optiv.

“By using an inside-out approach to cyber security – starting with risk mitigation and building out from there with strategy, infrastructure rationalisation, operations optimisation and ongoing measurement – we believe financial institutions can close vulnerability gaps and respond to new threats in systematic ways.

“The time and cost involved in adopting a comprehensive inside-out cybersecurity approach to gain an understanding of threat actor intent, and employing offensive security policies to close security gaps, is a small price to pay.”

The report, available for download on Carbon Black’s website, takes a look at some of the key attack types financial institutions are encountering, including Emotet, steganography and Hidden Cobra.