Banks fearful of revenge attacks from former employees

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Financial services firms have been guiltier than most of showing swathes of employees the door over the last 18 months, many of whom would have been privy to sensitive information. Not surprisingly, they're slightly paranoid about possible revenge attacks from ex-staff, which is driving demand for information security experts.

A rather astounding 75% of the 1,900 senior IT executives polled for Ernst & Young's Global Information Security Survey said they feared some sort of reprisal from staff that had recently departed the organisations.

Paul van Kessel, global leader of Ernst & Young's Information Technology Risk and Assurance Services practice, says that an ex-employer's IT system is becoming an increasingly common target, and that data theft is on the up : "It is paramount that companies undertake a specific risk assessment exercise to identify their potential exposure and put in place appropriate risk-based responses."

The E&Y survey is admittedly across a number of different industries, but financial services firms are increasingly looking to tighten up their information security systems.

Ryan Jones, information security consultant at 7Safe, says: "Employees who would have previously had access to a lot of data could easily become a potential liability. Financial services firms have to be aware of this in the current economic climate."

As we alluded to earlier, banks are becoming increasingly conscious of attempting to keep technology staff on-side in the wake of redundancy.

Nonetheless, one upside of this is that information security experts are becoming a more prized commodity, says Jones.

"There are healthy levels of recruitment within this sector," he says. "But the right people need to have a blend of penetration testing, understanding web application security and forensic skills. Then, of course, you need the ability to explain what went wrong, and how it can be corrected without being overly technical.

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