It’s hard to fight an enemy you can’t see. Cyberhacking is often carried out by computer geniuses operating halfway across the world. They operate in the darknet and collaborate in chatrooms. Often they compromise other people’s computers so that if a hacking attempt is detected, it leads authorities to a dead end. Sometimes they even compromise the victim’s computer so that it can be used to victimize others.
If you think this makes the job of cybersecurity professionals extremely difficult, there is more.
IBM reports that financial service firms and banks are reluctant to discuss prior cyberhacking incidents and attempts. Without any coordination between banks and authorities, defending against these attacks becomes almost impossible.
According to Business Insider, IBM has just launched a version of its Watson Artificial Intelligence program to protect banks against hacking attempts. IBM bills Watson as a “cognitive technology that thinks like a human.” In simple terms, Watson is IBM’s artificial intelligence platform. One of the beauties of Watson is its ability to amass and process mountains of information in real time.
IBM claims it has over 40 banking and financial services companies signed up for its new initiative. In order for it to work, however, Watson needs access to historical data. And that is the one thing lacking in the banking industry.
Banks don’t want customers to know about cyberhacking incidents. If customers learned that a particular bank was hacked, customers might suddenly leave the bank and take their money with them.
Banks also don’t want regulators to know. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, FDIC and Federal Reserve all have cybersecurity regulations. If a bank hasn’t done all that it should to protect against these attacks, it faces significant fines.
Instead of working together and exchanging information, banks try to keep a lid on these events. Only when millions of dollars are stolen does a bank reluctantly admit that it had a problem. Even then, one compliance officer tells us that his particular institution waited weeks trying to figure out what to do. Instead of quickly reporting the event, they pondered their options for weeks. To catch a cyberhacker, authorities must act immediately.
Without historical details about hacking attempts, law enforcement and security experts can’t stop future attacks. The problem has become a classic “catch-22.”
So how will Watson operate in this environment of secrecy and mistrust? IBM says that by allowing companies to “anonymously feed” data into Watson, the supercomputer’s artificial intelligence can begin to look for trends and clues. Today, that cooperation doesn’t exist.
IBM says that it will allow banks to anonymously report data on prior cyberhacking attempts into its massive database. By aggregating this information, IBM can use artificial intelligence to predict – and stop – future cyberbreaches.
Whistleblower Awards for Cyberhacking Information
Banks that do not adopt robust cybersecurity measures or that fail to promptly report hacking attempts and breaches may violate the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) and numerous agency rules. FIRREA allows whistleblowers to claim an award of up to $1.6 million for inside information about misconduct that weakens or adversely hurts the bank.
A bank that fails to protect customer accounts is certainly engaged in activities that threaten the bank’s stability. Ditto for banks that cover up hacking attempts. Because the FDIC insures most U.S. bank deposits, the government wants to stop cyberhacking incidents before they happen.
MahanyLaw – America’s Banking Whistleblower Lawyers
The whistleblower lawyers at MahanyLaw help bank employees and other insiders stop fraud within banks. We have helped our banking whistleblowers collect over $100 million in awards. Real awards for real heroes.
If you have information about cyberhacking involving a bank or defense contractor, call us. All inquiries are protected by the attorney – client privilege and kept confidential. You can also visit our cyberhacking whistleblower information page. For more information, contact attorney Brian Mahany at or by phone at (414) 704-6731 (direct).
MahanyLaw – America’s Whistleblower Lawyers