Tech-savvy criminals have stolen millions by hacking into wealth managers systems, according to the Financial Times.
The paper, which cites research from investigations agency Kroll, says at least six wealth managers have been targeted in the past four months alone.
According to the report, cyber criminals are accessing wealth managers’ systems by setting up bogus WiFi networks at airports and hotels, which wealth management staff use on their travels. Once in, the criminals send an email to a clearing bank asking for money held by the wealth manager to be moved to a separate account.
EJ Hilbert, a former FBI counter-terrorist who was appointed head of Kroll’s cyber investigations this summer told the Financial Times: ‘It’s scary. Wealth managers are being used to get millions of dollars. I have seen six of these [thefts] in the four months I have been here. Europe and the Middle East are five years behind the US [in cyber-crime awareness].’
He added: 'The issue is lack of understanding of cyber security. I worked with a company that had a 125 armed guards and four people dealing with cyber security. They had been hacked for four years. Their information is walking out of the door, but it is the cyber door.
John Barrass, chief executive of the Wealth Management Association, does not believe his members are a soft touch.
'We are aware that there is an ongoing attack on wealth managers by cyber criminals. We have made clear this an area we expect them to be looking at,' Barrass told the FT. They have a financial incentive never mind moral incentives.'