More U.S. financial firms are increasing their spending on cybersecurity amid bigger threats

U.S. banks and other financial firms are projecting higher spending on cybersecurity as they face bigger threats and more attacks.

In a survey of 100 senior security officers, 84 percent said their firms are planning to spend more this year on cybersecurity, up from 78 percent a year ago, data-security provider Thales eSecurity said in a report to be released Tuesday. About 36 percent of companies said they experienced an intrusion in 2018, up from 24 percent in last year’s survey.

Some of the largest U.S. banks already have boosted cybersecurity spending to almost $1 billion a year following high-profile attacks at companies such as Equifax Inc. and Anthem Inc. Financial firms also have increased information-sharing and set up industrywide backup systems for client data to prevent financial-system disruptions during a major hack.

Some of the spending might not be on target. The vast majority of financial firms are still spending too much on defending personal computers despite awareness that’s the least effective strategy, the Thales survey found. More attention should be paid to network security, said Andy Kicklighter, director of product marketing at the firm.

“The emphasis needs to shift to protecting data,” he said in a phone interview. “Companies are afraid that data protection will disrupt their business, but that’s a concern of yesterday. There are a multitude of solutions today that won’t disrupt or slow down regular business while protecting the data.”