Contractors specialising in the IT skills market may discover the are in demand again in financial services in the wake of a disquieting report by PricewaterhouseCoopers: there are rather a lot of security holes in the sector which urgently need patching to prevent cyber bandits from stealing valuable data.

The PwC survey is a disturbing read for the financial sector. Half of the financial services respondents polled said that cybercrime risks had grown over the previous twelve months, and 38% of reported cybercrime incidents in the sector took place via cyber platforms. Only 36% of respondents from other sectors reported increased cybercrime, and the figure for reported incidents was less than half that for the finance sector at just 16%.

Andrew Clark, PwC’s forensic services partner, said that the figures were “not so surprising.” The finance sector holds a huge amount of data that is especially attractive to cyber villains and, he explained, there is “an established underground economy servicing the needs of the market for stolen and compromised data.”

Mr Clark acknowledges that this is a major problem, adding:

“Our survey shows cybercrime accounts for a much greater proportion of economic crime in the FS sector than in other industries. Cybercrime puts the FS sector’s customers, brand and reputation at significant risk. Regulators are increasingly viewing cybercrime as a key area of focus and financial institutions are expected to have appropriate systems and controls in place to fight this growing threat.”

PAYE umbrella techies who have been treated a little shabbily by the finance sector over the past year may well find themselves welcomed back. Urgently.

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