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IFAs are prime targets for data thieves

IFAs and their back-office systems are prime targets for fraudsters, warns 1st-The Exchange delivery director Howard Goodman.

Goodman says security over the next year is going to be a huge issue and criminals looking to steal data about high-net-worth individuals will be targeting advisers.

Three years ago, Goodman says thieves would look at a laptop and see its physical value. Now they estimate its value based on the amount of data stored on it.

He says: “It is the different mindset that we have to get our heads around. The data is now more valuable and if a thief can steal that data, they can hack into it and do other stuff with it. We saw this trend at the Exchange coming three years ago and have put a huge amount of investment into the underlying security of our systems. There is penetration tests, 128-bit encryption and our capability is security monitored by the IBM in the US 24/7 so if there is a global virus, IBM can react to it within minutes.”

The warning comes a month after the FSA revealed that poor data security is the biggest risk to its financial crime objectives.

Financial Technology Res-earch Centre director Ian McKenna says “An IFA fact-find has everything you want to know to commit fraud. There are increasing numbers of clever criminals out there targeting web-based data.”

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