Cybersecurity Crisis: IMF Report Shows $12B Lost in US Financial Sector

Why Trust Techopedia
Key Takeaways

  • IMF warns about the growing frequency and threat of cyber attacks.
  • Economies at risk of bank runs without preventative action.
  • US financial sector faced $12b in losses from cyber incidents since 2004.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has sounded the alarm on the risk of the increasing threat posed by cyberattacks on the global economy. 

A dire warning was delivered, imploring governments to implement robust systems and cyber strategies to meet the ongoing challenge.

The IMF blog detailed the extent of the concerns and the potential damage envisaged unless corrective action is taken. It outlined how malicious actors could destabilize economies, leading to bank runs. If such a situation materialized, the consequences would be felt right across society.

A particular area for concern was the reliance upon third-party cyber security firms as they are practical master key holders to an array of businesses and industries. The report recommended the promotion of in-house teams to supply these crucial services.

Geopolitical tensions were cited as a danger, with state-backed actors exploiting the citation to target some of the world’s biggest companies to undermine national governments, economies, and stability overall.

In addition to dealing with an increasing threat, the cost of defending vital online functions is also increasing. The IMF report stated that cyber attacks have doubled since the pandemic, while the US financial sector alone has lost $12 billion due to cyber-related incidents since 2004.

The IMF has recommended that national governments, particularly those in developing nations, significantly upgrade their approach to cyber security. It called for effective strategies to be created, challenges to be regularly reviewed, meaningful business outreach, and leadership on standards, information sharing, and readiness.

In response to the recommendations, Kev Breen, Senior Director of Threat Intelligence at Immersive Labs, opined what action was required.

“Knowing that a specific threat actor may be targeting banks with a DDOS is not the same as being prepared to respond or proactively mitigate against the potential impact of these threats,” he said.

Breen added that organizations must train all employees, including board members and C-Suite executives, to enhance cyber resilience in the financial sector. He emphasized that conducting regular and realistic cyber crisis simulations and drills would guarantee that individuals across the organization possess the necessary knowledge, skills, and judgment to protect against a cyberattack.