Earlier this year, the IMF urged the financial services industry to better prepare against the mounting threats of cyber-attacks. Now, research from Akamai highlights the growing risk to European, and in particular UK, financial services institutions. And the report

The report titled ‘The High Stakes of Innovation: Attack Trends in Financial Services’ sheds light on the challenges ahead.

Akamai argues that the attacks on the European banks that are allies of Ukraine are financially and politically motivated by Russia’s continued war in Ukraine. It surmises that this is the primary reason for the increase in attack events in EMEA.

Financial services is the third-most attacked vector in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region. Approximately 1 billion web application and API attacks represents a 119% year-over-year increase when comparing Q2 2022 with Q2 2023.

Insurance is the most attacked sub-vertical in EMEA, being the target of 54.5% of all web attacks. This represents a 68% increase year over year. Insurance companies hold a huge amount of personally identifiable information. This makes them an attractive target for cybercriminals in contrast with other financial services organisations that hold mostly financial data.

The UK is the most targeted country ahead of Germany

The UK is the most targeted EMEA country with 29.2% of all EMEA DDoS attack events. Germany ranks second at 15.1%.

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Other findings note that the EMEA region experienced 63.5% of all DDoS attack events worldwide. This is nearly double the number experienced in North America (32.6%).

Between January 2022 and June 2023, DDoS attacks on financial services in EMEA equated to 1,466 of the 2,590 attack events across all verticals in EMEA. This resulted in a 40% increase year over year in DDoS attacks when comparing Q2 2022 with Q2 2023.

DDoS attack events against the gambling, commerce, and manufacturing verticals in EMEA each also exceeded all other regions combined. Some 24% of the scripts used by financial services organisations in EMEA come from third parties. This is notably lower than in other verticals (36%)

“As cybercriminals continue to follow the money, financial services remains a hugely attractive target. At the same, this is one of the most regulated sectors. Hence it is essential for companies to align their security strategy with emerging laws and regulations,” said Richard Meeus, Akamai’s Director of Security Technology and Strategy, EMEA.