Article Image 26745

How financial institutions fight hackers

Last year, a group of hackers claimed to have stolen 100TB of data from Sony Pictures Entertainment. It was by no means the first, but arguably the most high-profile breach of its kind, highlighting that corporations need to up their defences against cyber criminals. In the US, regulators are now cautioning that financial institutions need to learn the lessons from Sony's attack and get ahead of any potential hacks – but what does this mean for your financial security?

Reassuringly, new tactics are constantly being developed at government, corporate and customer levels to protect your money and data. Today, we're going to explore how these work.

Government policy

The majority of countries have organisations designed to keep the financial environment safe, like the US' FSOC or the FCA in the UK. As part of this, they'll often support financial firms in monitoring and countering cyber attacks. They, and their governments, do this by:

  • introducing regulations, like the European Central Bank’s Payment Services Directive 2, that require finance companies to meet a set security standard
  • organising cyber ‘war games’ that test financial institutions with simulated hacks
  • hiring ‘ethical hackers’ to expose financial institutions' weaknesses and help improve them.

Corporate strategy

In most cases, banks aren't taking the threat lightly either. According to the British Banking Association, those in the UK spend £700m on cyber security each year. That investment goes on:

  • account monitoring – any reputable institution will have an anti-fraud team and specialised software to identify unusual activity
  • employing geopolitical analysts to track global threats
  • sharing information on potential threats with other banks and IT experts. 

Customer security

Whether you’re using financial services for personal banking or international money transfer, you’ll find several measures in place to protect your funds. These might include: 

  • digital tokens that convert data into a code during a transfer, so no personal information is revealed
  • ‘two-factor authentication’, which is a second layer of protection, like a chip-and-pin reader for online banking or single-use verification codes
  • account alerts to tell you when money's moved
  • biometrics – while this is still in its infancy, you could soon be scanning your fingerprint or using facial recognition tech to transfer money online.

We've put together a five-step guide to making sure your payment info's secure online, so take a look if you'd like to find out more. You can also read about how your money's safeguarded when sending money overseas in our 101 guide

Comparison tool

Sending Currency
Buying Currency
Send USD Receive

Latest Articles

Richard Wilson, London

The site was so easy to use and I found how much I could save straight away. Thank you.

Felicity Liebmann

Used your service last week to get travel money from ICE and it all worked beautifully. Very efficient and easy, the cash arrived when it was due so there was no hanging about waiting or anxiety about it not arriving when promised.
Paying for your overseas tuition fees in foreign currency


Overseas university or secondary school tuition and living expenses are not only expensive but also currency conversion takes large portion of your budgeted funds for your child's studies. We show you how you can make the most of the money you are investing in your child’s future.

regular overseas payments


If your business makes regular overseas payments, the costs associated with fees and exchange rates can mount up. We show you the best methods for saving money and taking advantage of superior exchange rates. Demonstrate the considerable savings your business can make over time.

Market Insights

Sign up for our newsletter.

Thank You for subscribing to our Newsletter

You have successfully signed up to our Newsletter