Adviser support service hit by cyber attack

Adviser support service hit by cyber attack

The chief executive of advice community website Panacea Adviser has issued a warning after his email account was hacked.

Derek Bradley, head of Panacea, an online community of 17,000 financial services professionals, has warned that phishing emails have been sent out that are purporting to be from him.

Mr Bradley originally became a victim of a cyber attack back in September when his emails were compromised.

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He warned that all emails received from him to undisclosed recipients over the past seven months were not sent from his system.

In a message sent out yesterday (22 March), he said: “We are in the process of trying to work out the best course of action to ensure this stops happening, but it is difficult as I have no control over what is being sent and by whom.

“I do apologise again for any inconvenience caused to you. We will hopefully find a resolution to this issue as soon as possible.”

Mr Bradley also warned that the hackers are continuing to try and get access to other contact lists, and told advisers to ignore emails to undisclosed recipients.

Earlier this year, discretionary fund manager Hawksmoor Investment Management was hit by a cyber attack, but quickly managed to resolve the issue.

Cyber issues are increasingly in the spotlight as financial firms are forced to splash out in order to protect their businesses from cyber scams. 

Some industry professionals have also warned that more needs to be done to educate businesses of the dangers.

Launched in 2007, Panacea Adviser supports financial advisers, mortgage brokers and paraplanners by providing free online access to news, tools, research, and educational support.

Matthew Webb, head of cyber at insurance firm Hiscox, said: "Some of these financial advisers are moving substantial sums of money, but it’s not just about a hacker stealing the money by electronic transfer.

“These types of phishing emails which are purporting to be from someone are cold, hard fraud.”

From a phishing perspective, Mr Webb said it was important to have clear controls in place in terms of a verification process.

He also said firms should have set policies and procedures in place for transferring sums of money in order to avoid becoming a victim of digital scams.

The government is facing calls to create a single point of responsibility to deal with cyber risk in the financial services sector amid concerns over accountability.

Today (23 March) Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury select committee, wrote to chancellor Philip Hammond claiming a lack of coordination in the current cyber security system could leave the banking industry’s IT systems vulnerable to attack.

My Tyrie said the present arrangement, in which both a director-level group and a governance framework can serve as a single point to address cyber issues, resembles the "catastrophically inadequate" tripartite authorities that were set up to monitor system risk in banking in 1997.