Finance bears brunt of cyberattacks

Business | Eurus Yiu 11 Jun 2021

Hong Kong has been one of the prime targets of cyberattacks in the region, as local financial institutions have varying levels of cybersecurity resilience.

The Financial Services Development Council released its Cybersecurity Strategy for Hong Kong's Financial Services Industry report, which found that the financial services industry suffered 23 percent of total cyberattacks, the most among all industries.

The report showed that Hong Kong accounted for three percent of the cyberattacks on financial institutions with a potential economic loss of US$32 billion (HK$249 billion).

Karen Chan, co-leader of the council's cybersecurity working group, pointed out that Hong Kong is an attractive target for cyberattacks and the level of economic losses resulting from cybercrimes is on an upwards trend.

The level of cybersecurity preparedness within Hong Kong is uneven. Although the financial services sector demonstrated the highest level of readiness among sectors, Chan added that large organizations have the ability to allocate additional resources to improve cybersecurity infrastructure, while small organizations can only take a defensive position.

It was also noted that artificial intelligence would make future attacks more organized and sophisticated.

To maintain Hong Kong's standing as an international financial center, the council proposed developing a dedicated cyberspace safety roadmap with policy priorities and to develop cyberspace protection legislation.

Given the interconnectedness across different sectors within the financial system, cyber-incidents faced by one sector can easily have a spillover effect.

The council suggested enhancing talent development in order to tackle the shortage of local cybersecurity experts and raising the preparedness through industry-wide stress tests and data recovery enhancement.

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