The financial sector stands as a prime example of an industry that has embraced technology, rapidly adapting to the trends of modern world. In today's landscape, technology and electricity have become the foundation for nearly every transaction, information exchange, and payment. However, amid the convenience and speed these technological advancements offer, it is imperative to acknowledge the persistent threats that arise when substantial financial information is concentrated within a single electronic device.
“The significant digitization of banking services in recent years and the increase in sophistication and intensity, both in quantity and volume, of cybercrime, may be two of the factors contributing the growth of these illegal activities in the region,” says Claudio Baumann, Director, Akamai, to MBN.
Within the realm of cyberattacks, banking institutions, international payment systems, and banks at large stand as particularly vulnerable sectors. Hackers from around the globe view the financial industry as an ideal target due to its inherent profitability once compromised. Financial fraud and identity theft remain the prevailing cyberattack techniques employed by these malicious actors. However, the current predicament lies in the inadequate assignment of resources toward cybersecurity measures.
Regrettably, a Bank of Mexico's report reveals a disconcerting reality: while 2022 witnessed the highest number of cyberattacks in Mexico, it also coincided with the country’s lowest recorded investment in cybersecurity since 2016. Astonishingly, a mere 0.41% of Mexico's total budget was assigned to cybersecurity during that period. Such statistic reveals the pressing need for immediate action in bolstering the country's defenses against the ever-increasing threats posed by cybercriminals in the financial sector.
“The thing that is missing is immediate investment in cybersecurity. From everyone: government, more importantly, but also from companies and users that most of the time do not know how to protect themselves from cyberattacks,” explains José Luis Solleiro, Researcher, Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM).
On any given day, an astounding 4.2 million transactions take place via Banxico's System for Electronic Interbank Payments (SPEI). This means that a sudden cyberattack corrupting Banxico's system could potentially result in the loss of over MX$147 million (US$8.37 million). Furthermore, Mexico's lag in terms of infrastructure, data protection and even cybersecurity regulations amplifies the urgency for immediate action.
While the regulations and infrastructure necessary to ensure cybersecurity all over Mexico are yet to come, certain experts around the world urge businesses to take matters into their own hands. Some of the actions these experts suggest can be synthesized in four main ways: protecting clients information with robust antiviruses, guaranteeing operative systems that are resilient to cyberattacks, training their collaborators so they can identify possible cyberthreats in the system and providing useful information regarding cybersecurity to clients to raise awareness.