Don’t Break the Bank – From heist to hostage: how can banks combat cyber threats?

Posted on 05/08/2020 by vmwareemeasmt
DISCLAIMER: this article is older than one year and may not be up to date with recent events or newly available information.

By Matthew O’Neill, Industry Managing Director, Advanced Technology Group, VMware Office of the CTO

From Heist to Hostage, YOU really could be next!  Ok, I hope I have grabbed your attention!

In our Don’t Break the Bank podcast, Brian Hayes and I get to talk with lots of interesting people and have had some pretty thought-provoking conversations. We are always prepared to talk about the questions we did not even know were questions when we were working in banking. Still, coming away from this episode, we were shocked by what we learned from our friend and colleague Tom Kellermann, Head of Cyber security Strategy for VMware Carbon Black.

Tom’s credentials are far too numerous to list succinctly. Still, highlights from his CV include: advising the US Treasury Department, being a commissioner on the Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th President of the United States, and spending time as Deputy CISO for the World Bank Treasury.

He was also recently on Capitol Hill, testifying to the US House of Representatives subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy. In his testimony, he talked about the threats countries, and organisations face from bad actors, whether criminals or rogue states. Tom was “on the Hill” following the publication of the third edition of VMware Carbon Black’s Modern Bank Heists report, which looks at how the dangers to financial services institutions are evolving. It was great to have Tom with us if a little frightening. As I said, Brian and I come away from our conversations with our guests having learnt something new every time. But, some of the things Tom told us, we think we may be able to sleep better, not knowing.

Tom didn’t pull any punches even though at one point we thought it sounded like something from a James Bond Movie – but as Tom pointed out, this is Fact, not Fiction. We have said before that Cyber is in the top 3 things that keep CIOs awake at night, and listening to Tom, you can understand why. The language has changed from hackers and criminals to adversaries, organised crime and rogue nation-states.

Fortunately, there are solutions too, which Tom shares. What are they, and what does he mean when he says financial institutions are going to be cyber-attacking others? You’ll have to log in to your preferred podcast platform and have a listen.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback, so please do share them with us. In the meantime, take care, and if there’s anything we can do to help, please get in touch.


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