Financial sector particularly sensitive to cybercrime

While cybersecurity is a universal concern across Australia, the finance industry is keeping a particularly careful eye on the online world of crime.

According to a recent PricewaterhouseCooper (PWC) report, insurance professionals collectively named cyberattacks as the number one threat to business  performance. This concern has advanced 13 places since the 2013 list, revealing how much of an impact recent events have had on this sector in particular.

The reason for such high concern is due to the sensitive data that insurers have access to. Databases contain highly personal information from customers, which include medical records, identity data and bank account numbers. 

PwC Australia's insurance leader Scott Fergusson highlighted the effect of changes in technology, which have lead to a number of challenges as well as opportunities. 

"The impact of wearable devices and connected cars will be significant – once consumers get a level of comfort around sharing data with insurers, the expectations of more personalised and customised products and premiums will quickly follow," he said.

Education, such as IT security training will be vital to protecting the financial industry as a whole in the future. According to David Whiteing, CIO at the Commonwealth Bank, there is a global shortage of skilled cybersecurity experts, as quoted in an August 27 ABC article. 

Many professionals in this industry fear that cybercriminals will outpace their ability to fight back. However, Whiteing stated that this is already the case in Australia. 

"What people need to realise is that the cyber space is highly specialised, it's highly collaborative, and it's highly unregulated – all conditions which allow cybercriminals to move very very rapidly," he said.

With the threat of cybercrime becoming more apparent, professionals in the finance industry may find they need to upskill though information security training courses. Cybercrime is becoming more sophisticated by the day and complacency is no longer an option.