According to a 2019 survey, global data breaches exposed an astonishing 7.9 billion records the first nine months of that year – more than twice (112%) the number revealed during the same period in 2018 – with cybercriminals aiming to gather financial, medical, and personal data.
Networked businesses should be aware of the possibility of customer data theft, corporate espionage, or customer attacks. And with the amount of data gathered by banks and other institutions, those in the financial sector are especially vulnerable.
Here are five of the most common cybersecurity threats to those in the financial sector in this digital age.
Globally, finance companies responded to ransomware/malware events last year to the tune of US$2 million (RM9.3 million) in costs. This accounts for ransom payments as well as expenditure brought on by the interruptions they caused.
In these attacks, the bad guys take data first, then encrypt crucial systems before coercing the business into paying a ransom to avoid the release of confidential data. As this could destroy consumer confidence in their brands and seriously harm their reputation, business owners are often willing to pay.
Malware-infected end-user devices, such as computers and smartphones, put your bank’s online security at risk every time they connect to your network. Sensitive data travels across this connection and, without adequate security, malware on the end-user device could attack the bank’s networks.
Digital-asset management and security are challenging. In addition to being incredibly complex, most systems are evolving quickly, placing pressure on companies to stay updated with appropriate monitoring and management technologies and standards.
2. Unencrypted data
This is a fundamental aspect of effective cybersecurity: if your data is encrypted, hackers will not be able to use it right away. Oftentimes, the vulnerable point does not come from the end user but from software service providers.
To provide their customers with better service, many banks and financial institutions use third-party services from other suppliers. Your bank could suffer if those third-party contractors don’t have strong cybersecurity protocols in place.
Before implementing third-party solutions, it’s crucial for a business to consider how it, too, can defend against security threats.
3. Manipulated or stolen info
Data manipulation is not limited to banks; all businesses and individuals are susceptible.
When it comes to banking, a data manipulator might do something like altering the volume of deposits to increase the amount in an account, raising a credit-card limit, or removing transactions to reduce the balance.
Access restrictions are the first line of defence. When it comes to employees in a financial institution, there should be a range of access levels, according to each person’s level of responsibility inside the organisation. This lessens the likelihood of internal data tampering, while reducing the number of entry points hackers can use to access the system and alter the data inside.
Privileged individuals such as those in management, loan officers, and anybody else with high-level access are prime targets for hackers.
Phishing involves deceiving users into disclosing their login information to access a private network. Email phishing is the most popular method, in which victims receive electronic correspondence that appears to be official.
Certain phishing emails can appear very convincing, such as this one purportedly from Netflix.
Any interaction with the phishing email’s malicious links or attachments could result in malware installation on the target computer system, or the loading of a fake website that collects login information.
These scam emails appear quite convincing to the unwary recipient, especially when they convey a sense of urgency, and are increasingly difficult to identify.
According to estimates, phishing accounts for over 90% of all successful intrusions.
Spoofing is a disruptive algorithmic trading technique used to outperform other traders and manipulate markets by creating the appearance of demand and supply for a traded asset.
Spoofers create the impression that an asset is under pressure to be sold or bought. The market interprets this as movement in the number of investors who want to buy or sell the asset, resulting in prices that may alter upwards or downwards.
The spoofers make offers or bids only to cancel before these orders are fulfilled. The buzz surrounding this may draw other traders and cause a certain market reaction, leading to the rise and fall of share prices, and a potentially large profit for the spoofer.
Increased global connectivity and the use of cloud services to hold private and sensitive data has led to a rise in privacy risks, with hackers growing more cunning and their strategies more resistant to traditional cyber defences.
It is essential for organisations, especially those in the financial sector, to keep up to date on the latest trends and protect themselves through a holistic approach to cybersecurity.