It will only take one brain and one computer to destroy an established firm these days. The advancement in technology revolutionized human life added new facets of a threat to our security and Capital Market firms are not above them. Information technology grew to a level in which it could simplify the most complex cases of data handling making it very easy to organize our business. From a luxury, the use of cyberspace rapidly transformed into an irreplaceable necessity in our firms' functioning and this strange addiction is posing dire apprehension. Our inability to predict or even understand the mounting danger of cyber crimes is affecting Capital Market firms more than any other industry. Its international influence, technological vulnerability, and above all, basic financial connections are making it the greatest target of digital offences.
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Unlike the age-old crimes like robbery, corruption, counterfeiting and privilege exploitation, cyberspace attacks can cause large-scale troubles. The erratic and often eccentric methods adopted by attackers are should be blamed. When we evaluate the cybercrimes committed in the recent years we can understand that no two attacks are similar and the motivation can be spotted at different wavelengths in the spectrum. Lack of uniformity leaves us with very few mitigation strategies.
All we can do is to extrapolate the incidents to pinpoint security loopholes and brace against further attacks. While we are estimating the magnitude of the menace is increasing manifold. With attackers showing a trend away from traditional monetary ambitions that usually syphons multi-millions from the business, more anarchist and unruly acts of cyber violence are entering the scene aiming at the destruction of data, disruption of reputation, and tainting trust causing multidimensional loss to exchanges.
Gone are the days of independent hackers unleashing their methods on firms which are less informed and lesser protected. The seasoned hotshots and experimental neophytes are coming together in communities trying to make a living out of their skills through ‘black markets’ where clients pay for the data they obtain or the service they can provide. Cyber terrorism is another peril that often threatens the whole firm. We cannot ignore the cascading effect of harm when it comes to capital markets firms that usually have links and networks ranging beyond borders. For political and ideological motives, several tries to manipulate the capital markets firms. Their modus operandi ranges from spreading fake news and false information to denial of service attacks that can paralyze the business and illiquid traffic. Acts of vengeance at personal levels triggers almost invisible and parasitic cyber crimes and at nation-state level leads to outright cyber warfare. Stolen assets, disrupted foundation infrastructure, card skimmers, Web application attacks, cyber-physical threats, and advancement in technology are making it almost impossible to predict, detect and remove the threats. The financial losses due to cyber crimes are estimated to be as high as one trillion USD which means they have a huge impact on the real-world economy. Social engineering is now becoming a major tool for proxy organizational attacks making it above suspicion and goes undetected for years.
Thanks to cyberspace attribution problem and lack of apposite laws and protocols, perpetrators go unpunished and unrecognized. Evolved, innovative and sophisticated cyber crimes involving crimeware, resources, and implicit help can only be curbs with surveillance, hands-on defence mechanism, regulation, and awareness. Seasonal brainstorming drills, awareness generation roundtables, regular surveying, powerful regulations, promotion of preventive measures, more cyber-crime insurances, and active measures like ethical hacking, storage encryption, firewalling, intrusion prevention, anti-ransomware & anti-malware programs, will help to vanguard capital markets firms. Complete cybersecurity is utopia but we are preparing ourselves to face the risks, keep ourselves informed and invest substantially in cybersecurity.