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Cloud Technology Blog for RIAs and Broker-Dealers

Central Banks Prepare For Blockchains And Digital Currencies

The Federal Reserve and three major global financial organizations have taken notice.

A technology that first gained international attention through the digital currency bitcoin has now garnered the interest of the most powerful financial institutions in the world. Representatives from 90 of the world’s central banks convened for presentations on how blockchains could revolutionize global commerce. As wealth managers know, if something is important to a central bank, it eventually affects investors. (To get the basics on Blockchain, check out an earlier blog.)

In addition to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, officials from the Bank for International Settlements, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund all participated. They gathered June 1 in Washington D.C. to hear insights from Adam Ludwin, the CEO of San Francisco-based startup Chain, Jeff Garzik, CEO of the Chicago-based startup Bloq, and Perianne Boring, president of the Chamber of Digital Commerce. 

6/21/16 3:35 PM / by Justin Kapahi posted in Financial Services, Cybersecurity, News, Technology, Events

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Ransomware May Be Stalking Your Clients, And Their Money

Learn how to avoid this type of malware, then spread the word to protect your firm.

We live in an age where cyber thieves can infect your computer with malicious programs called “ransomware,” which locks up your operating system and holds your data hostage unless you pay off the hackers. The U.S. Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council has warned banks about this profound and rising threat.

Financial institutions, government agencies and hospitals are all prime targets because they provide vital services that cannot risk shutting down for extended periods of time. What’s worse, hackers can use ransomware as a distraction while they penetrate an operating system, reaching end users that interact with these organizations.

6/8/16 10:00 AM / by Justin Kapahi posted in Financial Services, Cybersecurity, News, Technology, Events

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Global Financial System Fights Back Against CyberAttacks

Top nations and banks are seeking ways to prevent theft and data destruction.

Fear of cyberattacks on the global financial system have garnered intense media attention lately. Wealth managers must be able to answer questions from clients and employees about how their firm combats such threats. Broker-dealers and RIAs can look to recent actions by the world’s top nations and banks for guidance.

Officials from the Group of Seven nations met in Japan a couple weeks ago to assess each country’s cybersecurity and collaborate on improvements. A congresswoman from New York sent a letter last week to federal regulators asking what they’re doing to ensure U.S. banks have sufficient protection from hackers. And the head of SWIFT introduced a five-point plan for preventing repeats of recent bank data breaches involving its system.

6/1/16 10:34 AM / by Justin Kapahi posted in Financial Services, Cybersecurity, News, Technology, Events

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Hacker Network “Anonymous” Targets Global Financial System

The global financial system is under attack. That’s not clickbait. 

On May 4 the loose international network of hackers known as “Anonymous” successfully penetrated the website defenses of Greece’s central bank and announced its intention to compromise cybersecurity at other central banks, the International Monetary Fund, the Bank for International Settlements, the London Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, PayPal, Visa and MasterCard. This 30-day digital campaign is called “Operation Icarus,” and an executive at the technology company Gartner has warned financial institutions to pay attention.

5/17/16 2:55 PM / by Justin Kapahi posted in Financial Services, Cybersecurity, News, Technology, Events

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Central Banks Are Vulnerable To Cybercrime. That Means You Are, Too.

Learn from the $81M theft involving Bangladesh, the U.S. Federal Reserve and SWIFT.

An unprecedented cyber theft transpired in February, one as daring as it is revelatory. When unknown thieves siphoned $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank, by using the SWIFT system to trick the U.S. Federal Reserve into turning over the money, the criminals showed that hackers can exploit virtually every aspect of the global financial system.

Ramifications for RIAs and broker-dealers should be obvious. If some of the biggest financial entities in the world can find themselves involved in cyber breaches, so can your firm. Larger institutions are obvious targets but harder to penetrate, while smaller firms are often overlooked but easier to penetrate.

5/10/16 2:29 PM / by Justin Kapahi posted in Financial Services, Cybersecurity, News, Technology, Events

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Panama Papers Exemplify Risks of Lax Cybersecurity

Firms need to keep up with technology that’s available to leakers of sensitive data.

Wealth management firms should pay close attention to the consequences of the biggest cybersecurity data leak in history, the Panama Papers, which saw 2.6 terabytes of information exposed. This consisted of over 320,000 text documents, one million images, two million PDFs, three million database files, and nearly five million emails.

The law firm Mossack Fonseca, which allegedly helped establish offshore accounts for clients, was ground zero for the event. It's still unclear whether Mossack Fonseca itself broke the law. Some people use offshore accounts for criminal reasons like tax evasion and some people use offshore accounts for valid reasons like privacy. Whether or not the law firm is guilty of crimes, and whether or not its clients are guilty of crimes, this entire issue stems from a data breach.

5/3/16 1:02 PM / by Sam Attias posted in Financial Services, Cybersecurity, News, Technology, Events

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External IT News Round-Up 1/31 to 2/6

A weekly round-up of everything you need to know.

As an added service for our blog readers, External IT provides a weekly round-up of the stories you need to know in the financial industry.

The SEC is adding 100 compliance examiners to inspect wealth managers more vigorously. It’s also redesigning its website to make it easier for investors to conduct background checks on advisors while using mobile devices. TD Ameritrade’s LINC event takes place this week in Orlando for over 3,000 industry professionals. Fidelity has a new study that suggest advisors are not planning for the transition of their practices as diligently as they should. And IMCA has revised the policies of its CIMA certification, including its code of professional responsibility.

 

2/5/16 9:30 AM / by Alexander Lapa posted in SEC, News, Events

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External IT Financial News Round-Up 12/6 - 12/12

A weekly round-up of everything you need to know.

 As an added service for our blog readers, External IT provides a weekly round-up of the stories you need to know in the financial industry.

 

A popular topic at the MarketCounsel Summit this week was the popularity of M&A deals among wealth management firms. Another idea from the summit was the question, “Who owns the data generated on client accounts, firms or advisors?” It looks like Russian hackers were involved in the Morgan Stanley data breach that led to thousands of clients’ information winding up posted online. Some experts wonder if robo advice will start gravitating toward “the shared economy.” And the editor for a spunky industry news site urges RIA vendors to do a better job of marketing themselves.

12/11/15 10:47 AM / by Robin Brown posted in Cybersecurity, News, Events

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