The European Central Bank is reportedly preparing lenders for a possible Russian cyberattack, as analysts warn the move could be used to de-stabilise Ukraine prior to invading.
The Bank is on high alert amid rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Reuters first reported, having had its sights locked on the rise of scams in the pandemic.
“When it comes to state-sponsored cyberattacks, known but unpatched vulnerabilities are the number one risk to financial institutions,” cybersecurity expert Trichy Raman at Ivanti said.
“Fears of a major cyberattack on financial institutions have been rising since hackers successfully stole nearly $100m (£73.7m) from Bangladesh’s central bank in February 2016. Fast-forward to 2022, the US and European banks run the risk of being subject to a catastrophic cyber-attack, to inflict economic chaos if Russia invades Ukraine.”
The prime minister and other politicians, including foreign minister Liz Truss today, have been meeting their Russian counterparts over the past few weeks in a bid to dial down pressures.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace met with his Polish counterpart Mariusz Błaszczak in London on Monday, as the government sent 350 soldiers to bolster security on the Polish border.
However, the US has been calling for Europe to take the risk of cyber attacks more seriously, after sending its top cybersecurity official Anne Neuberger to help prepare Nato.
Some 23 per cent of cyber attacks are aimed at financial institutions, IBM research for 2021 revealed, with a single data breach costing around $5.72m (£4.2m) in the US.
“Almost all financial institutions have experienced a cyberattack in one form or another, and the number of attacks is only increasing,” Raman added.
“To make matters worse, according to the National Crime Agency, it cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to get financial services back up and running after a cyber-attack.”