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The pandemic drove dramatic changes in customer behavior, as fraud and risk teams also faced budget cuts, and rising cyber threats. The report provides practical steps for banks on how to mitigate cyber risks and build resilience.

When the pandemic hit, banks worldwide were forced to respond to rapidly evolving circumstances. Dramatic changes in customer behaviours made it harder to spot suspicious activity and drove a rise in false positives. Cyber criminals and fraudsters pounced with customary agility to further their own ends, as fraud and risk teams said that budget cuts would mean they would be unable to fulfil all parts of cyber security strategies. The question for banks today is what happens next? What practical steps can be taken to mitigate the cyber risks that emerged over the past year and build resilience into operations going forward?

Banking Insights: The Covid Crime Index ipad tile image

A complimentary report: How banks can mitigate the pandemic’s impact on cybercrime and fraud

The complimentary report explores how changes in customer behaviours amidst the pandemic made it harder for banks to spot suspicious activity, as they also faced budget cuts, and provides practical steps on mitigating cyber risks and building resilience.

A glimpse inside...

Like organisations in virtually all sectors, banks reacted quickly to support a rapid shift to mass remote working for employees. In many cases that meant issuing hundreds or thousands of laptops, purchasing new licenses for video conferencing platforms and virtual private network (VPN) platforms, and much more. There may also have been investment in cloud infrastructure to support an anticipated spike in customer demand for digital services. New security strategies alone took an average of over 17 weeks for banks to implement. 


Unfortunately, this response, while operationally essential, had several negative consequences:

  • A greater risk of cyber attack. Employees may be more distracted at home and use insecure equipment and networks. Some 86 per cent of banks told us that remote and hybrid working had made them less secure

  • Fraud and risk teams under pressure. 34 per cent reported that they had lost IT professionals due to redundancies. Alongside this, 44 per cent said that budget cuts meant that they would have to cut back on critical IT spend

  • Budget cuts due to the crisis. Banks on average cut budgets by 24 per cent, which had a negative impact on staffing and technology investments. Two-fifths (41 per cent) said this may impact critical IT spend and risked them losing key IT staff (35 per cent). Many (38 per cent) claimed this may have put customers at greater risk

Download the insight paper and the full COVID Crime Index report

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