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Cybersecurity

Given the evolving nature, increasing frequency, and mounting sophistication of cybersecurity attacks – as well as the potential for harm to investors, firms, and the markets – cybersecurity practices are a key focus for firms and FINRA. 

FINRA evaluates firms’ approaches to cybersecurity risk management through reviews of their controls in areas including: technology governance, risk assessment, technical controls, access management, incident response, vendor management, data loss prevention, system change management, branch controls and staff training.  Through these reviews, FINRA also assesses a firm’s ability to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive customer information.

These pages are designed to assist a firm in building out its cybersecurity program by addressing the individual risks and discussing related controls needed to protect customer and firm confidential data.  FINRA has updated this Cybersecurity page to include the following resources:

  • In Case Of A Disruptive Attack or Breach
  • Common Cybersecurity Threats
  • Events
  • Reports
  • Compliance Tools
  • Media
  • FINRA Cybersecurity Contact

In Case of a Disruptive Attack or Breach

Firms should get to know their local Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and proactively plan for a cybersecurity attack or breach.

In case your firm is the victim of a disruptive attack or breach, for instance your data has been accessed or your customers cannot do business, you should immediately report the incident to your:


Common Cybersecurity Threats

This section highlights some of the common cybersecurity threats faced by broker-dealers. In a number of cases, FINRA has observed that different types of attacks were coordinated and overlapped.

  • Phishing
  • Imposter Websites
  • Malware
  • Account Compromise or Takeover
  • Fraudulent Wires
  • Ransomware
  • Distributed Denial-of-Service (“DDoS”) Attacks
  • Vendor Breaches

Events

2020 Cybersecurity Conference

January 14, 2020 • New York, NY
FINRA’s Cybersecurity Conference helps you stay current on today’s cybersecurity challenges and the ways in which organizations can understand vulnerabilities and threats, and create resilience against cyber attacks.

2019 Small Firm Conference

October 23 – 24, 2019 • Santa Monica, CA
The Small Firm Conference focuses on small firms’ practices and tips for complying with FINRA rules. Don't miss Thursday morning's panel entitled, "Cybersecurity Guidance for Small Firms."


Compliance Tools

2021 Report on FINRA’s Examination and Risk Monitoring Program

The Cybersecurity and Technology Governance section of the 2021 Report on FINRA’s Risk Monitoring and Examination Activities (the Report) informs member firms’ compliance programs by providing annual insights from FINRA’s ongoing regulatory operations, including (1) relevant regulatory obligations and related considerations, (2) exam findings and effective practices, and (3) additional resources.

Small Firm Cybersecurity Checklist
FINRA has created a Checklist for a Small Firm's Cybersecurity Program to assist small firms in establishing a cybersecurity program.

Compliance Vendor Directory (CVD)
In an effort to provide enhanced compliance tools and resources, FINRA has developed the Compliance Vendor Directory (CVD). The FINRA CVD is designed to give firms more options in locating vendors that provide compliance-related offerings, including cybersecurity vendors and services.

Core Cybersecurity Controls for Small Firms
Core Cybersecurity Controls for Small Firms is a list of core controls that are likely to be relevant to many small firms’ cybersecurity programs. This list was designed to help small firms in establishing an effective cybersecurity program.

Non-FINRA Resources
FINRA has assembled a list of non-FINRA cybersecurity resources that firms may use to manage their cybersecurity risk.

  • Podcast
    Firm regulatory risks and priorities don't exist in a vacuum. And that is perhaps nowhere clearer than when it comes to a firm's anti-money laundering responsibilities. A firm's AML risks can overlap with any number of other priorities. On this episode, the first of a two-part series, we look at the overlapping risks of AML and cybersecurity.
    October 27, 2020
  • Podcast
    Between the level of interconnectedness on the web and the sheer about of data available, we’re living in an era ripe for the perpetration of financial fraud. That makes it more important than ever for FINRA to have a holistic view of emerging trends and risks—and the ability to coordinate closely with other regulators and law enforcement. FINRA’s new National Cause and Financial Crimes Detection Programs (NCFC) will be the nerve center to do just that.
    May 26, 2020
  • Virtual Conference Panel
    Join FINRA staff and industry panelists as they provide examples of effective controls and tools their firms have put into place to monitor and address cybersecurity risks.
    May 19, 2020
  • 2019 Exam Findings Report
    The Observations on Cybersecurity section of the 2019 Report on Exam Findings informs member firms’ compliance programs by describing recent findings and observations from FINRA’s examinations, and, in certain cases, also providing a summary of effective practices.
    October 16, 2019
  • Guidance

    This article highlights some of the common cybersecurity threats faced by broker-dealers. In a number of cases, FINRA has observed that different types of attacks were coordinated and overlapped.

    July 09, 2019
  • A Few Minutes With FINRA
    FINRA’s Senior Vice President of Member Relations and Education Chip Jones, leads a discussion with Chief Information Security Officer John Brady, Senior Director Steve Polansky and Kansas City Surveillance Director Dave Kelley, on FINRA’s 2018 report on selected cybersecurity practices. The discussion includes an overview of the report, which highlights effective practices in five challenging areas that firms should consider to strengthen and further develop their cybersecurity programs—as well as core cybersecurity controls for small firms. (30 min. 17 sec.)
    December 20, 2018
  • Podcast
    Cybersecurity is a major challenge for everyone – but it can be a particularly big challenge for those in the financial industry. That’s why FINRA released a new report highlighting effective cybersecurity practices for FINRA member firms. Learn more in this episode of FINRA Unscripted.
    December 20, 2018
  • Report / Study

    This report continues FINRA’s efforts to share information that can help brokerdealer firms further develop their cybersecurity programs. Firms routinely identify cybersecurity as one of their primary operational risks. Similarly, FINRA continues to see problematic cybersecurity practices in its examination and risk monitoring program. This report presents FINRA’s observations regarding effective practices that firms have implemented to address selected cybersecurity risks while recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to cybersecurity.

    December 01, 2018
  • Podcast
    In an era when much of our lives happen online, cybersecurity is more important than ever. But what do you do to protect your personal information? We all have a role to play in keeping ourselves secure. This National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, tune in to learn more about how you can keep yourself, your family and your clients safe online.
    October 23, 2018
  • Compliance Tools

    Protecting investors means protecting their data, too. Our Small Firm Cybersecurity Checklist supports small firms in establishing a cybersecurity program to:

    July 12, 2018
  • Podcast
    From banking and investing to social media and shopping, the internet is an essential part of our daily lives. That means cybersecurity is more important than ever. That is particularly true for FINRA, which can process up to 99 billion records in a single day. Here, John Brady explains how FINRA stays cyber secure.
    February 27, 2018
  • Video
    Cybersecurity experts and regulators gathered in New York City on February 22, 2018 to focus on key ways the financial services industry can maintain cybersecurity.
    February 26, 2018
  • 2017 Exam Findings Report
    The Cybersecurity section of the 2017 Report on Exam Findings informs member firms’ compliance programs by describing recent findings and observations from FINRA’s examinations, and, in certain cases, also providing a summary of effective practices.
    December 06, 2017
  • Compliance Tools
    FINRA has assembled a list of resources that firms may use to manage their cybersecurity risk. These resources include: news and analysis; effective practices and guidance; and free diagnostic tools...
    October 25, 2016
  • Compliance Tools
    FINRA has created a checklist to assist small firms in establishing a cybersecurity program.
    May 23, 2016
  • Guidance
    FINRA is conducting an assessment of firms’ approaches to managing cyber-security threats. FINRA is conducting this assessment in light of the critical role information technology (IT) plays in the securities industry, the increasing threat to firms’ IT systems from a variety of sources, and the potential harm to investors, firms, and the financial system as a whole that these threats pose.
    January 01, 2014