Out of 26 different industries surveyed, a Deloitte Study found that the financial services industry is the one industry most targeted by cybercriminals.
This is largely due to the fact that most cybercrimes are financially motivated and that cybercriminal tactics are evolving at an alarming pace. Even more alarming is that every 39 seconds a cyber attack is committed against a financial services institution, with cybercrime resulting in a loss of $2.0 million every minute1.
So, what can financial service businesses do to protect themselves against these malicious cyber attacks?
The best protection, aside from dedicated monitoring and sweeping cyber security measures, is to arm yourself with knowledge regarding the top 10 cyber security threats to the financial sector.
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Cyber Security Threats to the Financial Sector Statistics
Considering that a staggering 86% of cyberattacks in 2020 were financially motivated2, it’s no wonder that 70% of banks and financial institutions list cybersecurity threats as their biggest concern3.
The amount of money that banks and insurers are expected to lose over the coming years due to cybercriminal activities is mind-blowing. It’s estimated that data breaches and attacks on banks4 will cost them 347 billion dollars in 2021 and beyond, and insurers are poised to lose $305 billion by 2024.
Clearly, active cyber threats to the financial industry are a matter of serious concern. So now, let’s look at the most common types of cyberattacks so you know what to watch out for.
The 10 Most Common Cyber Security Threats to the Financial Sector
- Identity & Credential Theft
Hackers will often access a user’s bank account login information and use that information to change the account’s profile information.
This way, the original owner of the account won’t even receive updates or alerts, allowing the hacker to extend the time they can steal information.
Using weak passwords, having no multi-factor authentication and using your banking app on an unsecured WiFi network all contribute to aiding hackers in this tactic.
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- Internal Personnel Mistakes & Errors
To err is human. This is why the most vulnerable element of any cyber security network is the human element. Even the most careful individual can make the simple mistake of accidentally opening a phishing email.
And this is exactly the type of cyber attack that has been increasing in frequency during the pandemic, since more people are working from home, away from the protective gaze of the office’s network administrator.
How do you prevent these types of attacks? Promote employee education, enable multi-factor authentication and limit who gets access to the network.
- Data Manipulation & Thievery
“Small greed succeeds” is a common phrase in addition to being a prolific tactic used by cybercriminals. The method in question involves the attacker gaining access to the network data stream and making small, imperceptible changes that allow them to manipulate algorithms for financial gain.
Outside of financial gain, some hackers use this tactic to simply destroy or corrupt important company data. In these cases, the hackers are often motivated by hatred or revenge and are frequently current or former employees.
- Phishing Scams
A phishing scam is when a hacker or cyber-criminal attempts to fool an employee into giving up their login credentials or other sensitive information. Usually done by way of a phishing email (from what appears to be a reputable or known email address), once the attacker has the required info, they can access all sorts of information or install malware on the system.
This is a very dangerous type of cyber attack. Once it’s taken over a computer system, the ransomware encrypts all the data it can find (making it impossible for the business to access it) and then demands a ransom payment in exchange for returning access. In most cases, even after paying the ransom, the data isn’t returned. Or, if it is returned, it’s copied and sold to the highest bidder.
- Unreliable Third-Party Vendors
Plenty of banks use a variety of third-party vendors to render certain services. Exposing any portion of a bank’s data to another operating entity carries with it huge risks. If that vendor is breached, your data is also compromised.
- Unsecure Cloud Providers
Many banks and financial institutions use cloud services for data storage. But, if these cloud services are unsecured or fall victim to an attack, valuable customer data could be lost or stolen.
- Evolving Technologies
With each passing day, cyber-attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated. Technological advances like AI and IoT are being used with increasing regularity. To fight these new threats, banks and financial institutions need to invest in security tactics against attackers including:
- Using AI to identify threats
- Data encryption
- Cloud security monitoring
- Limiting employee access to cloud data
- Frequent updates
- Multiple recovery plans
- Employee education
- Security updates
- Increased IT security budgets
- Multi-factor authentication
Power Consulting Can Help Protect Against Cyber Security Threats to the Financial Sector
Here at Power Consulting, we have years of experience protecting banks and financial institutions from all manner of cyber threats. Talk to us today to see how you can take your cyber security to the next level.