“Governments are now deploying significant resources in the fight against financial cybercrime”

Yaroslav Vasinskyi should have been wary. On October 8, 2021, he was caught by Polish police right at the Ukrainian border. Originally from the small town of Doubrovytsia, in northern Ukraine, he studied at the University of Lublin, Poland. During the day he attended his lessons. By night he was Robotnik (“worker” in Polish) and traveled the world from Texas to Brazil on the lookout for the most vulnerable businesses.

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For the American authorities, he was, with his Russian friend Yevgeniy Polyanin, the criminal behind the REvil group, author of massive attacks in the United States and around the world. American justice therefore ended up identifying the perpetrators and seized nearly 6 billion dollars (5.2 billion euros) in ransom. History to show that the American law can strike far from its bases. Yaroslav Vasinskyi will soon be extradited to the United States for trial. Yevgeniy Polyanin, he remains hidden in his Siberian lands.

Cybercrime is now taken very seriously all over the world but arrests, like that of the young Ukrainian student, remain rare. Most often, impunity reigns. Like the American authorities, governments are now deploying significant resources. This Monday, January 10, the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, announced an investment of one billion euros, the creation of a school for the police and the deployment of 1,500 additional cyber patrollers to intervene with companies.

A quarter of cyber attacks

Orange Cyberdéfense, the specialized subsidiary of the telecom operator, recorded an average of 42 attacks per month between January and October 2021, or 13% more than the previous year. In its assessment of the risks of the French financial system, presented on Monday, January 10, the Banque de France pointed to cybersecurity as one of the main dangers for financial players in 2022, alongside the threat of a stock market reversal and public and private debt.

Worldwide, a quarter of attacks target finance and the institution estimates the damage caused by these practices at 1% of global GDP. This is another unexpected effect of the health crisis. By accelerating the adoption of digital technology in companies and causing the generalization of teleworking, it has also exploded the risks of bugs and digital crime.

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“Even if it has not yet generated a major systemic crisis, cyber risk is now identified as one of the major risks for financial stability”, indicates a note from December 2021 from the General Directorate of the Treasury. This highlights a major difficulty, the lack of specialists. We have to admit that for the moment, the Doubrovytsia school is one step ahead. Hopefully, its best parts don’t all tip over to the dark side of the web.

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