The Trouble With Convenience

It’s probably not the best time to be working in a bank.

Especially if you’re in Europe of US.

Number 1, the global layoffs occuring, with HSBC announcing 30,000 job cuts in 2013. 30,000. That’s roughly 10% of its workforce. This is mainly due to operations streamlining and of course, cost cutting. Which actually doesn’t mean bad news to our region, since we’re considered as the backend of the world, and possibly, one analysts’ pay in US is equivalent to our CIO’s take home income. That’s just a wild, ignorant and completely ungrounded guess.

Number 2, more than ever, banks will be targeted by hackers, crackers and everything in between. Of course, with internet banking on the rise, and the fact that passwords are absolutely worthless these days, it only takes a very focused and somewhat skilled individual to exploit money away from other people. Even if they don’t they can still cause mischief by laying down DOS (Denial of Service) attacks on the target. We can’t really avoid it, using internet banking. That’s the trouble with convenience. It gets exploited.

Again, HSBC, which seem to have fallen from one of the world’s best and most beloved bank to one that is constantly being targeted by various groups. In October, the first wave of DOS hit them, and took out their UK site and many others.¬†On November 4th, the similar attacks took out the UK site again, and reported, “As of yet, HSBC doesn’t know what’s causing the failure, though the spokesperson said it was likely to be something affecting the “servers or mainframe”.”

Hacktivists have taken credit for HSBC downtime, but whoever it was, it was certainly disruptive to the business.

Could the bank have done anything to avoid this?

They probably could have made it harder. But DDOS is one of the most annoying thing ever invented for an operational guy. And I would know it. I ran the global DHL network and DDOS was on our menu. Everyday.

One of the ways we did for our global website was running it on Akamai service, which alleviated the risk somewhat. But then, even Akamai gets hit so I suppose no one is safe. Until someone claims he/she has full proof solution, I guess it’s something we all have to live by.

Just make sure you have a backup and IT continuity plan ready.

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