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Phishing Attacks Against Banks Jump With Pandemic Used as Lure

May 6, 2020, 1:35 PM

Cyber-attacks trying to trick bank employees to click on malicious links jumped in the first quarter, with criminals attempting to take advantage of fear and confusion caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

While the so-called phishing campaigns, which surged by a third in the period, haven’t so far resulted in any major breaches in the industry, smaller lenders remain at a greater risk than bigger banks, according to the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, known as FS-ISAC.

“Working from home has definitely made it tougher to protect firms,” FS-ISAC Chief Executive Officer Steve Silberstein said in an interview. “Now most work is done outside the firm’s firewall.”

As of April, there were 1,500 websites using pandemic-related lending programs as bait to fool people into disclosing personal information, FS-ISAC found. While most of the sites are taken down once they’re discovered, new ones pop up in their place, the group warned.

Other industries have seen rising cyber-attacks during the outbreak as well. Health-care providers and medical facilities in the U.S. and Europe, as they struggle to handle an influx of patients suffering from Covid-19, have seen a surge of ransomware attacks.

Read more: Hackers target health-care providers

To help its 7,000 member firms share information about cyber-attacks and defenses while most staff work from home, FS-ISAC last month rolled out a secure chat platform to connect thousands of cybersecurity employees across the industry. It’s also speeding up the release of a new version of its information-sharing portal that will be easier to access from mobile phones.

The first channel activated on the chat platform, called Connect, was for security workers sharing information on pandemic-related attacks and vulnerabilities. The improved portal for sharing intelligence, known as Share, will employ a commonly used cybersecurity tagging system to sort through and find alerts on categories of attacks more easily. Share will go live later this month.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Yalman Onaran in New York at yonaran@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Michael J. Moore at mmoore55@bloomberg.net

Daniel Taub, Andrew Martin

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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