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Phishing, BEC, and Beyond: Tackling the Top Cyber Threats to UK Banks

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KnowBe4’s new report finds that UK financial institutions face onslaught of cyberattacks at unprecedented rate

LEEDS, England, May 20, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — KnowBe4, the provider of the world’s largest security awareness training and simulated phishing platform, today released its report on cyber threats faced by the financial sector in the UK. The report examines the escalating rise of cyberattacks on this sector, the tactics deployed by cybercriminals and what financial institutions should do to safeguard themselves and their employees.

The report shows that, in general, the financial sector in the UK is under constant attack and that it is grappling to keep pace with ever-evolving cyber threats. A clear urgency is emerging for financial institutions to adapt their security strategies for dealing with more sophisticated cyberattacks as banking is shifting towards being fully digital.

Some key findings in the report reveal a startling landscape of cyber threats:

  • The frequency of ransomware attacks on the financial sector in the UK doubled in 2023, showcasing an alarming escalation.
  • Phishing and Business Email Compromise (BEC) remain the top threats to organisations, which includes financial institutions.
  • AI-driven deepfake audio impersonations are notably on the rise.
  • For the first time, cyberattacks, and their potential to disrupt essential services, were perceived as an acute risk, more so than geopolitical tensions, inflation, or economic recessions.
  • There was a dramatic 81% surge in cyberattacks against UK financial institutions in the year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, outpacing the global increase of 61% during the same timeframe.
  • Multiple UK banks are lacking basic online and app protections, including use of outdated and vulnerable web applications, failure to enforce secure passwords, and the absence of alerts for critical account changes.

The report further delves into the prevailing cyber threats in the sector as well as real-life examples. It also provides some practical advice on how financial institutions can protect themselves against cyber threats and cyberattacks.

Addressing the urgency of the situation, Javvad Malik, lead security advocate at KnowBe4 stated, “These findings underscore a stark reality for the UK’s financial sector – they are being attacked at an unprecedented rate. Cyber defences need to adapt with the same speed and intelligence as the threats themselves. In addition to traditional security strategies, fostering a culture of security awareness to mitigate the inherent human risk of any organisation is no longer optional; it is a cornerstone for survival against cybercrime.”

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To download a copy of KnowBe4’s report on UK financial institutions, click here.

About KnowBe4
KnowBe4, the provider of the world’s largest security awareness training and simulated phishing platform, is used by more than 65,000 organizations around the globe. Founded by IT and data security specialist Stu Sjouwerman, KnowBe4 helps organizations address the human element of security by raising awareness about ransomware, CEO fraud and other social engineering tactics through a new-school approach to awareness training on security. The late Kevin Mitnick, who was an internationally recognized cybersecurity specialist and KnowBe4’s Chief Hacking Officer, helped design the KnowBe4 training based on his well-documented social engineering tactics. Organizations rely on KnowBe4 to mobilize their end users as their last line of defense and trust the KnowBe4 platform to strengthen their security culture and reduce human risk.

Media Contact
Amanda Tarantino
Public Relations Officer
KnowBe4
[email protected]  

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Agora acquires Clearshift’s real estate division

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Agora, a provider of real estate investment management solutions, has acquired Clearshift’s real estate division to “reinvent cross-border payments in investment management.”

The division has utilized Clearshift’s international payments infrastructure to facilitate mass payouts and capital investments between foreign investors, asset managers, real estate property managers, and fund administrators.

While the financial details of the acquisition remain undisclosed, Agora will now serve as the division’s primary client-facing interface, offering “user-friendly investment management tools.” Clearshift will retain responsibility for payment execution and compliance functions.

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For existing Clearshift clients, this integration into the Agora platform promises “enhanced capabilities.” Agora’s clients, not currently subscribed to Clearshift, will gain “a transparent solution to foreign exchange activity” that enables “seamless distributions and contributions in any currency worldwide.”

Ari Dobner, CEO of Clearshift, noted, “After years of refining our fund manager payment solution, it became clear to us that our clients would truly benefit from a full investor management solution with seamless payment integration.”

Bar Mor, co-founder and CEO of Agora, added that the acquisition will enhance their platform with “streamlined and cost-effective international payments,” leveraging the “substantial customer overlap between Agora and Clearshift.”

This acquisition follows the recent closure of Agora’s $34 million Series B funding round, backed by Qumra Capital, Insight Partners, and UK-based investment firm Aleph.

Source: fintechfutures.com

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InScope secures $4.3m to revolutionise financial reporting and auditing

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InScope, a newly launched FinTech company, has successfully raised $4.3 million to expand its innovative financial reporting and auditing platform.

According to PYMNTS, the funding round included significant contributions from prominent investors such as Lightspeed and Better Tomorrow Ventures.

InScope is focused on transforming the traditional processes of financial reporting and auditing for private companies. The company leverages advanced technologies, including generative AI and large language models, to automate and streamline the compilation of financial statements—tasks that have historically been prone to errors and required extensive manual effort.

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The new capital will be used to enhance InScope’s platform capabilities. The company aims to shift accountants’ focus from laborious manual tasks to more strategic initiatives, thereby empowering finance professionals with tools to complete reporting and auditing tasks quickly and efficiently.

InScope’s system compiles data from a company’s core systems, such as ERP, along with publicly available information, and transforms these inputs into GAAP-compliant financial and audit documents.

InScope CEO and co-founder Mary Antony stated, “Our technology dramatically reduces the time and effort required for financial reporting and auditing, eliminating the need for outdated manual processes.” Her co-founder and COO, Kelsey Gootnick, also emphasized the transformative potential of InScope, which they conceived out of their own frustrations with existing financial processes.

The company has already begun collaborating with a select group of companies to refine and enhance their financial reporting capabilities. JC Bahr-de Stefano, a venture capital investor at Better Tomorrow Ventures, commented on this partnership: “InScope is already working with a handful of companies to help streamline their financial reporting needs and enable accountants to complete their reporting tasks in minutes instead of months.”

Source: fintech.global

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Citi extends USD Clearing service to Middle East in partnership with Emirates NBD

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Citi has partnered with Dubai-based banking group Emirates NBD to launch its USD Clearing service in the Middle East.

Through this collaboration, Emirates NBD will offer the USD Clearing service, along with its commercial and treasury payment execution capabilities, to corporate and retail clients via its branch networks in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. This service will enable clients to make cross-border USD payments with continuous availability, addressing current payment flow challenges posed by varying transaction cut-off times in the UAE.

“The introduction of 24/7 USD Clearing will support the growth ambitions of our clients by giving them the ability to seamlessly transfer funds in a timely manner without having to worry about cutoffs and holidays,” said Ahmed Al Qassim, group head of wholesale banking at Emirates NBD.

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Following the initial launch, the service will be extended to all Emirates NBD branches in the Middle East and globally, including partnerships with third-party institutions.

According to its website, Emirates NBD currently operates 853 branches in the UAE, Egypt, India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the UK, Austria, Germany, Russia, and Bahrain.

Shahmir Khaliq, Citi’s head of services, described the collaboration as “an important step in our journey to creating a multibank solution that is designed to deliver an end-to-end, ‘always on’ experience for participant banks and their customers.”

“Our 24/7 USD Clearing service is a clear differentiator in the market,” Khaliq continued. “It demonstrates the full value of our globally leading cross-border payments and clearing capabilities, which enable our clients to make payments faster and in a more efficient and transparent manner.”

Source: fintechfutures.com

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