The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has reported a large increase in malicious domains related to COVID-19 at a time when companies were transitioning to remote working.
The authority says it has identified the three most prominent cyber threats affecting the finance sector. The threats are the direct targeting of customers to obtain bank or credit card details, ransomware attacks and the targeting of the finance sector by cyber-criminal syndicates.
The DFSA’s Cyber Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP) provides the information it gathers on around 160 threats per week to 130 companies who have registered since it was launched in January.
Attacks on remote working
“The DFSA has observed an increase in attacks leveraging known and new malware and a soaring number of newly registered malicious domains referencing COVID-19 since March,” said a press release.
“At the same time, many financial institutions were forced to rapidly implement remote working practices at an unprecedented scale. Consequently, there was an increase in attacks targeting remote access and teleworking infrastructure in the hope of exploiting hastily deployed systems.”
Phishing through email, text message and other messaging apps remain a common form of cyber-attack against financial institutions and their customers, the authority said.
“We strongly encourage firms to cooperate and share information about cyber threats. Cyber security is a shared responsibility, which we believe can best be addressed through public-private partnerships,” said Waleed Saeed Al Awadhi, Chief Operating Officer of the DFSA.
“We understand that our involvement with firms and other regulatory and professional associations is essential for building cyber security awareness among our stakeholders. We take, and will continue to take, a proactive approach to sharing knowledge, educating stakeholders and supporting companies in building their cyber resilience in line with the National Cybersecurity Strategy.”
The authority urged businesses to look beyond their IT departments when it comes to cyber security, as training needs to be given to make all staff aware of how to avoid cyber-attacks.
The DFSA launched TIP on 21 January 2020, as the first financial services regulator-led cyber threat intelligence platform in the region. It is available to all DFSA authorised and DIFC registered companies.
(Reporting by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Seban Scaria)
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