25 Jun 2020
The financial sector faces a bigger cyber threat than ever before, and decisive policy may just be the solution. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, hackers are taking advantage of the newly complex landscape of interaction in several crucial industries. The financial sector has proven one of the most ample targets: cybersecurity strategists at VMWare, a software and cloud storage provider, report that in the early months of 2020 alone, there was a 238% increase in cyberattacks against banks. And although there is certainly a presence of independent malicious actors looking to profit from the chaos that COVID has perpetrated, experts now warn that Russia, China, and North Korea may also be attempting attacks on financial institutions—and state-sponsored hacking is an even more serious threat. This intel, and more, came to light at a hearing last week led by the House Financial Services subcommittee on national security, international development, and monetary policy, organized to address the mounting cyber threat. Testimonies at the hearing included Jamil Jaffer, founder and executive director of the National Security Institute at George Mason University, who argued that the financial sector should come together and work in favor of the industry’s aggregate interests in order to best protect itself. In the end, the subcommittee issued a series of bills designed to combat cyber threats and hackers, state-funded and independent alike.