The success and sustainability of businesses within the finance sector is often determined by the security of its information. The loss of commercially sensitive or confidential information as a result of corporate espionage can result in irrevocable damage to an organisations reputation, as well as having substantial regulatory and financial consequences.
Espionage Considerations for the Finance Sector
Banks and other financial institutions remain the most targeted among hackers, according to a 2020 OGL Computer report. In 2014 a criminal gang used a ‘screen-grabbing’ bug to steal millions from Santander bank. One of Britain’s biggest insolvency practitioners was investigated for corporate espionage after an employee seconded to Barclays allegedly stole information about one of the bank’s clients back in 2012. And security researchers found vulnerabilities in video conferencing systems at thousands of top level corporations, including Goldman Sachs’ boardroom.
The above corporate espionage examples demonstrate the attack methodologies that financial organisation are at risk of, including the insider threat, criminal attacks and technical eavesdropping. It is fundamental that the necessary precautions are taken to protect both current and future confidential conversations and information. This is especially important when information relating to an organisation’s activities and plans are likely to be extremely valuable to competitors and others connected or affected by the plans.
It’s crucial that CEOs and CSOs ensure that their security teams are taking appropriate action to mitigate against corporate espionage threats. In particular, a programme of counter-surveillance solutions should be put in place at times of heightened organisational activity, such as financial result announcements, mergers, acquisitions, senior management reshuffles, board meetings and major press announcements.
Investment Bank Chooses Innovative Counter-Surveillance Partner
The financial services industry has been at the forefront of many high-profile corporate espionage cases over recent years, and banks and other financial institutions remain the most targeted among hackers.
A leading international investment bank, with a presence in most major markets around the world, was reviewing the provision of its TSCM services, which had long formed the basis of its counter espionage strategy. The company invited TSCM suppliers to tender for the company’s counter-surveillance requirements.
Esoteric was awarded the contract to support the organisation by providing an innovative and effective security and counter espionage strategy. This included a range of solutions that would deliver sufficient flexibility to meet the ever-changing needs of the business. In addition to regular TSCM inspections of the most sensitive areas, bespoke training was provided to the company’s security personnel that enabled them to carry out interim physical searches in support of the TSCM inspections.
Value-adding security briefings were provided to key personnel and an educational campaign was introduced to deliver awareness to the wider staff population in the form of regular roadshows. Finally, Esoteric’s permanent countermeasures sensor E-Room was installed within the organisation’s boardroom, where the most sensitive of conversations were deemed to take place which delivered 24/7 protection from eavesdropping.
This multi-dimensional strategic approach provided great protection to the organisation, whilst delivering improved efficiencies and a return on investment. The new in-house capability not only supported the organisation’s overall counter-surveillance strategy but provided the organisation with greater confidence. The strategy was reviewed quarterly to ensure that it was fit for purpose and aligned to the organisation’s objectives at all times.