March 9, 2018 By Shane Schick 2 min read

The World Economic Forum (WEF) enlisted several large corporations to join its fintech cybersecurity consortium, which will develop a system to evaluate the way emerging technology companies and data aggregators in the financial services sector protect sensitive information.

In an interview with Reuters, a WEF executive said that increased collaboration between large banks, insurance companies and financial services startups could put consumers at risk. The consortium, which includes well-known companies such as Citigroup, Zurich Insurance Group and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, will work to reduce the threat of cybercrime by creating a framework to assess firms’ preparedness and offering guidance on how to improve their score.

WEF Aims to Improve Fintech Cybersecurity

The infiltration of digital technologies in financial services is not limited to apps that check bank balances or move funds around. As CISO Magazine pointed out, the WEF recently warned that biometric authentication credentials and robotics are increasing the amount of information that fraudsters might seek to manipulate or steal. This can include not only credit card data, but addresses, detailed purchase histories, location data and even access to other online accounts that integrate with various fintech services. This makes the sector highly attractive to cybercriminals looking for lucrative targets.

While it may take time for the consortium to develop its framework, there are already some indications of the key areas that need to be addressed. In its white paper, “Innovation-Driven Cyber-Risk to Customer Data in Financial Services,” the WEF detailed a series of 19 overarching recommendations to improve the way fintech firms and their incumbent counterparts address security issues. These include guidelines on how they collect data, containment procedures, threat information sharing and more.

Fintech Security Requires a Global Effort

The consortium will be aligned with a Geneva-based Global Centre for Cybersecurity, which the WEF announced in January, SecurityWeek reported. While not a formal regulatory body, the group aims to help fintechs navigate new laws regulating security and privacy that are set to take effect this year.

Although fintech firms represent a new area of IT security concern, it’s certainly not the only one the WEF is focused on. ComputerWeekly noted that the organization recently called for greater intergovernmental partnerships to boost cybersecurity in the face of attacks that could cripple entire economies. The WEF’s new initiatives aim to increase collaboration among governments and private institutions in the worldwide effort to combat increasingly interconnected cybersecurity risks.

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