Bankers see cyber as bigger threat than instability

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The threat of cyberattacks continued to overshadow the risk of a geopolitical crisis for bankers and others in the financial sector during the third quarter of 2016, according to a new survey.

Twenty-two percent of respondents cited cyber threats as the greatest risk to the broader economy and 56 percent ranked it in the top five, according to the survey, published this week by the Depository Trust and Clearing Corp., a settlement infrastructure provider for the global financial services industry.

That compares to 50 percent who put the outcome of the U.S. presidential election as a top five risk; 38 percent who listed general geopolitical instability; and 33 percent who listed the decision by British voters to leave the European Union — known as Brexit.

Other geopolitical risks that were rated top-five include instability in the Middle East, the impact of the ongoing refugee crisis across Europe, and the growing influence of Russia and China on global relations and the world economy.

North American respondents were more concerned about cybersecurity than anyone else — 57 percent ranked it in the top five, compared with 46 percent elsewhere. They were much less concerned about Brexit — 26 percent compared to 54.

DTCC’s Chief Systemic Risk Officer Michael Leibrock, managing director and at DTCC said there was an increasing convergence between cyber and geopolitical risk.

“While cyber threats and geopolitical concerns are distinct risk categories, they can also converge and materialize in combination with each other. Several respondents rightfully point to the growing incidence and sophistication of state-sponsored cyber attacks as a particularly worrisome trend that is emerging at the intersection of both areas of risk,” he said.

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