A timely reminder from the US Treasury Secretary of the heightened risks for businesses, public sector and individuals of the evolving threat from criminals using digital technologies. Criminals are constantly seeking vulnerabilities in digital systems designed to keep transactions safe. At a time when many people have been working from home for an extended period of time and the pressures of the continuing lockdown may cause a relaxation of risk-prevention policies and procedures, Janet Yellen's warning highlights the importance of remaining vigilant and cautious so that such attacks are either headed off or spotted and reported promptly so they can be resolved.

In addition to the risks she mentions, theft of large volumes of personal data from consumer-facing businesses can also pose existential threats to those businesses. Data and other regulators are empowered to impose huge fines, class actions by affected data subjects are becoming increasingly common, and serious reputational damage is almost inevitable, no matter how well-managed the PR response may be.

Businesses should do all they can to encourage staff not to relax their guard.

"We’re living amidst an explosion of risk related to fraud, money laundering, terrorist financing, and data privacy." Janet Yellen, US Treasury Secretary