Mastercard urges financial services firms to lead on cybercrime

New report highlights the risks to Canadian consumers and businesses that do not implement robust defences against cybercrime

Mastercard urges financial services firms to lead on cybercrime
Steve Randall

Financial services firms should take the lead on addressing the risk of cybercrime according to a new report from Mastercard.

That’s because of the special place that the industry enjoys, with high levels of trust from consumers and businesses, which means they can help influence better ‘cyber hygiene’ at a time when risks are rising.

The report reveals that cybercrime has risen 600% since the start of the pandemic and that consumers believe that financial services firms are responsible for preventing data breaches.

But are consumers doing their bit to protect themselves, especially as more than half report having already experienced a security issue?

Sadly not. The research found that half of respondents only change passwords when prompted by a platform, when hacked, or not at all; the same percentage often reuse the same password on most of their accounts.

Consumers expect businesses to protect their financial and personal information and yet the study found that  34% of Canadian businesses report experiencing digital fraud resulting from using internet services or software.

A recent report from Equifax Canada found that most Canadians have done at least one thing to bolster their cyber defences in the last 12 months.

Eyewatering cost of cyberattack

New businesses (up to 5 years old) tend to be more likely to suffer a hack, but all businesses are vulnerable if they fail to implement cyber defences and keep them updated.

The average cost of a data breach in Canada is $5.64 million, the report warns.

The report suggests that financial services firms can lead behaviours, such as leveraging alerts to put consumers at ease, as well as encourage them to develop better cyber hygiene habits.