Hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and operate for a fraction of the cost that is forked out to defend against them.

Major trading banks in Australia are upgrading their cyber security defences amid fears that global hacking group Anonymous, may target them with loss of service attacks and release of confidential data.

Anne Weatherston, the chief information officer at ANZ, said investment in technology security had been one of the highest priorities at the lender for the past few years and spending in the area now formed a core part of running the bank.

“Customers increasingly will judge their banks by the quality of their security,” Ms Weatherston said.

Last month, Anonymous and a second hacking network ‘LulzSec’ said they were planning to join forces in a campaign aimed at banks, government agencies and high-profile targets around the world to encourage others to steal and leak classified information.

ANZ is planning to upgrade its internet banking platform, expanding the ATM network and pushing further into mobile banking applications.

Commonwealth Bank and Westpac, have also been investing heavily in cyber security.

Westpac recently detailed plans to spend $2 billion over the next five years aimed at an overhaul of its ageing technology.

Comment

Not that many years ago most banks had to only worry about branch security when it came to protecting their business. Desperate dudes with guns were the major focus of banking security advisors. Now with much of our banking transactions being done online and confidential information accessible via the internet. The security focus is now on protecting the integrity of the banks systems from young hackers who can now mount bank raids without fear of getting shot. Also for many there is not much chance of getting caught.

It seems that first rate hackers are bored with trying to assault heavily protected governmental and military targets. Instead they seem to be going after easier prey in the form of major corporate and financial institutions. These are high profile targets with huge customer bases.

In the next few years the spending on internet security by major corporates is going to rapidly escalate as they try and stay one step ahead of the hackers.

The problem for the general public and small/medium businesses is that they are the ones who will be paying for all this added security through higher fees.