Cybersecurity can pose a threat in multiple manner for advisors

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Financial advisors may want to view cybersecurity as a critical issue on more than one level.

While protecting customer data should be a priority, cyberattacks could also affect the investments they make on behalf of their customers. In general, some companies can be more vulnerable to costly cyberattacks than others.

“The sectors that I think are most at risk [include] Healthcare, Energy and Manufacturing, Jamil Farshchi, Equifax’s chief information security officer, said at CNBC’s Financial Advisor Summit on Wednesday.

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“In the past, they haven’t invested as much and given security as much priority as they have in some other industries like financial services or technology,” said Farshchi.

Part of being able to assess a company’s cyber risk is by considering the real world threats to the industry it operates in, said Charles Carmakal, chief technology officer of Mandiant, who also spoke at the summit.

“Not all organizations pose a threat similar to others,” said Carmakal. “For example, there are unique threats to healthcare that are very different from threats to defense companies or government agencies.”

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He also suggests looking at the company’s “security maturity”.

“Many companies that have had a major cybersecurity incident tend to be more secure in hindsight than perhaps an organization that did not survive a major cybersecurity attack,” said Carmakal.

Both Mandiant and Equifax have been targeted by cyberattacks.

The good news for investors is that corporate boardrooms appear to be more cybersecurity-focused than they used to be, Farshchi said.

“People take it more seriously,” he said. “As a result, we’re getting more technology and security-savvy people in the boardrooms.”

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