Professionals in the financial services sector view reputational damage as one of the worst consequences of a successful cyber attack, a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has revealed.
Based on the responses of 3,877 companies across 78 countries, PwC found that half of the respondents from the banking sector believed the risk cybercrime posed had increased over the past 12 months.
Exceeding the 36 per cent figure recorded in other industries, the report revealed that half of financial services professionals are primarily concerned over potential damage to their company's brand and reputation.
"Cybercrime puts the financial service sector's customers, brand and reputation at significant risk" said PwC partner Andrew Clark.
The increased number of 'shame' attacks by hacktivist groups such as the Anonymous collective was highlighted as a key dilemma facing FS companies.
"The impact of social media, hacktivism and activism are widening all the time," PwC director William Beer told V3.
"Reputational damage is far more difficult to shrug off than financial."
The professionals' fears follow a marked increase in the number of online attacks targeting the financial services industry.
PwC analysts revealed that cybercrime now accounts for 38 per cent of all reported crime incidents in the finance sector. This compared to the 16 per cent average recorded in other sectors.
The paper follows on from a research paper by Verizon reporting an increase in the number of politically motivated cyber attacks being mounted against companies and governments.