Daily Market Update - February 17, 2015

Banks hit by $1 billion cyber attack… AIG profit slumps 67 per cent… Could we face a doomsday scenario?... US proposes regulations for drones…

Daily Market Update - February 17, 2015

Risk Management News


Banks hit by $1 billion cyber attack
Banks around the world have suffered a series of cyber attacks with hackers stealing up to $1 billion. Cyber experts at Kaspersky Lab say that the group have targeted around 100 banks in 30 countries over a period stretching back to the end of 2013. The findings of the firm’s analysis will be presented to a conference in Mexico today. It shows that hackers gain access to the banks’ systems through phishing techniques and then stay inside the network, often for months, to learn all they can about operations. They are then able to use that knowledge to steal money from accounts without raising suspicion. The US, Russia and China are among the countries that have been the main targets. Kaspersky is working with law enforcement agencies and has not named the banks that have been breached.
Canada’s Fairfax buys Brit plc in U$1.88 billion deal
Canadian insurer Fairfax is buying Lloyd’s of London underwriter Brit plc for U$1.88 billion. Fairfax has recently made acquisitions in Eastern Europe as it expands its international footprint.
AIG profit slumps 67 per cent
AIG has announced that its profits have declined by 67 per cent on costs of repaying debt and boosting reserves. Income in the fourth quarter dropped to $655 million from $1.98 billion a year earlier. Its full year profits dropped 17 per cent from 2013. Experts says that 2014 will be considered a transitional period for the firm and expect 2015 to be stronger.
Could we face a doomsday scenario?
Scientists at Oxford University in England have published a report detailing 12 things that could cause the end of humanity. The ‘dirty dozen’ includes risks that are beyond our control but also some that can be avoided if we take action. The report states: “It is a scientific assessment about the possibility of oblivion, certainly, but even more it is a call for action based on the assumption that humanity is able to rise to challenges and turn them into opportunities.” The ‘current’ risks are extreme climate change, nuclear war, global pandemic, ecological collapse, global system collapse, exogenic risk (such as an asteroid) and super volcano. Meanwhile there are emerging risks to our civilisation too and they mostly involve science ‘creating solutions’ (some may say interfering with nature) such as synthetic biology, nano technology, artificial intelligence and unknown consequences. The final risk is future bad global governance. Read the full report.
US proposes regulations for drones
The use of unmanned aircraft, or ‘drones’ is being sought by businesses including delivery firms (Amazon are testing their use already) and real estate agents (for remote viewings) but many, including the airline industry, are concerned about their proliferation. There have already been some near misses reported where drones have come too close to aircraft and there are also fears over privacy. Yesterday the US Federal Aviation Authority issued its proposals for the commercial use of drones. It is acknowledged by the agency that the potential for drones is enormous and it highlights uses such as crop monitoring, building surveillance and aerial photography. However Amazon’s plans may be scuppered by proposed rules that mean that an operator would have to keep the drone in sight at all times, there would be night flights allowed and the craft would have to stay at least 5 miles from airports. The FAA says it has tried to be flexible in its proposals but privacy campaigners may object to the allowance of personal data collected in flights to be kept for up to 180 days. The final rules are likely to take a number of years to come into force. 

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