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FSA warning that small firms must do more to beat hackers

Small and medium-sized fin-ancial firms need to be more pro-active in improving online security systems rather than just responding to hackers and fraudsters, says the FSA.

The regulator says most major banks have robust security systems for their client databases and back-office systems but second-tier firms are typically more vulnerable and a target for hackers.

In its report into financial crime entitled, Countering Financial Crime Risks in Information Security, the FSA says there is evidence that org-anised crime groups place staff in companies to commit financial crime, particularly identity theft.

This problem is often exacerbated by firms having weak internal security such as few restrictions on access to client information. The increasing availability of low-cost portable personal computers is also increasing the risks.

FSA financial crime sector leader Philip Robinson says there is not enough interaction between Government online security agencies such as the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit and the National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre and regulated firms.

Robinson says the regulator will incorporate its fraud awareness programme into the IT element of its risk assessment framework.

He says: “Hackers and fraudsters are refining and improving their techniques as we speak. In the fight against fraud, firms will have to run to stand still if they are to protect their assets and those of their customers.

“Firms should follow a preventative approach rather than reacting to a situation once it has happened which can be costly and damaging to reputation. Consumers must also take steps to prevent attacks from fraudsters by taking care when disclosing their personal details by following the security tips offered by their online banking service.”


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