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Cybersecurity landscape gets rocky in 2014

Apr 25, 2014 @ 2:28 pm

By Joyce Hanson

Even before the Heartbleed bug struck fear into online account users this month, advisers and their clients were waking up to the fact that cyberthreats to financial firms are on the rise in 2014.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. chief executive Jamie Dimon recently warned that banks will face “nonstop” threats from cyberattacks in coming months. But what's even more worrying for advisers is that midtier wealth managers also now face greater risks as cybercriminals and “hacktivists” get smarter about finding online security gaps.

To better understand what these threats entail — and to learn what advisers can do about protecting themselves and their clients — InvestmentNews held a Google Hangout on Friday with a couple of cybersecurity experts: Michelle Dennedy, chief privacy officer at McAfee Inc., also known as Intel Security, and John Dutra, founder of information technology firm GuidePoint Consulting. They worked together previously at Sun Microsystems.

Just before they joined a panel addressing data security and privacy issues at the 2014 Finance Logix industry conference in Las Vegas, Ms. Dennedy and Mr. Dutra spoke with me to discuss online privacy, regulatory action and other cybersecurity concerns.

Delve into additional recent stories on cybersecurity:

• The risk of cyberattacks in the financial services industry is on the rise in 2014, and wealth management companies, broker-dealers and registered investment advisers are not exempt.

• News about the Heartbleed threat revealed that online communication channels previous thought to be secure are in fact at risk due to a flaw in a piece of code in an open-source cryptographic library.

• The Securities and Exchange Commission has provided financial advisers with a detailed checklist of what it expects firms to provide in terms of cybersecurity protection. And here's a quick rundown of 10 ways advisers can improve their online security.

• In the same week that the SEC told advisers what kind of cybersecurity protections it wants them to implement, a government watchdog said the agency should get its own house in order.

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