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Coronavirus + Cybercrime: Is Financial Services Ready for the Double Whammy?

Except for one or two industries, the rest of the world has been extremely concerned about the societal and economic impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The financial services industry is one of those industries where people have started to count their pennies for the tough days ahead due to complete lockdowns and zero economic activities in one-fifth of the entire world. But the future impact of mounting bad debts should be just one of the concerns facing the financial services world. A more immediate and prominent threat is already knocking on our doors: the increasing cyberattacks on financial services institutions in the last couple of months.

Cybercrimes, to a large extent, mimic the mindset of street crimes – they increase when the society or economy is already going through a challenge. With the world focusing its attention on the massive threat posed by COVID-19 and more than 20% of the world’s population under lockdown, essential infrastructure has been left to the mercy of cybercriminals who are likely to capitalize on the crisis, which is bound to make things worse for the business.

History provides strong evidence of this correlation. A study on the “World Financial Crisis and Cybercrime” highlights that in 2008–2009, “the worldwide financial crisis sparked an incre ...

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