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The 3 Biggest Cyber Threats for Financial Services

The most common threats that financial institutions will face in 2022 are ransomware, phishing, web application and vulnerability exploitation attacks, denial of service (DoS) attacks, insider threats, attack campaigns of the nation-state, and state-sponsored threats actors, and Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) groups. Read on to learn more about financial services cyber security | Fortinet to avoid these threats.

Nation-state attacks

Usually, you think of nation-state attacks as highly sophisticated, technology-based hacks. But the truth is that nation-states can also be simple, human-centered hackers. For example, one common technique they use to breach business systems is social engineering, which leverages human vulnerabilities to get people to click on bogus links or download malware, resulting in security breaches. Another common way is sending spear-phishing emails that trick employees into entering sensitive information.

While cyberattacks against high-income countries dominate the headlines, low and middle-income countries are also increasingly targeted. This is because these countries have jumped from traditional banking systems to digital services, creating a rich target for hackers. The most prominent recent example of this is the hack of Uganda 2020, one of the largest mobile money networks in the country, which disrupted service transactions for four days.

To counter these threats, governments must collaborate internationally. Increasing resilience for the financial services sector is a priority, including secure encrypted data vaulting where members can back up customer account data overnight. Furthermore, governments must strengthen norms to protect the financial system’s integrity. The report recommends that governments clarify how international law applies to cyberspace and strengthen financial computer emergency response teams. And in the end, the financial services sector must cooperate to protect itself and its clients.

Financial Services Cyber Security

Advanced Persistent Threats

APTs (Advanced Persistent Threats) are a growing threat to banks and other financial firms. They essentially steal sensitive data by gaining unauthorized access to a computer network and stay undetected for an extended period. They have similar tactics to traditional threats, such as ransomware, but are much more sophisticated and fundable. In addition, these attackers can use multiple attacks to take over a computer network, causing significant damage.

The financial services industry is one of the most vulnerable sectors to cyberattacks, with a high data breach cost. According to a study by the security firm ImmuniWeb, 91% of mobile banking apps had a medium security risk. Also, financial sector information systems rely on many large, interconnected groups and decentralized systems, increasing the risk of a cyberattack. Moreover, financial services are a lucrative target for cybercriminals.

While cyberattacks can compromise financial institutions’ data and systems, the most significant risk is customers’ reputation. An accidental attack on the financial services industry’s front-line staff could devastate the company and its revenue, therefore, developing a robust cybersecurity plan is critical. 

Third-party software

A compromised software vendor can access financial institutions’ systems. A compromised software vendor can allow fraudsters to access financial institutions’ systems. In addition, they could re-enter the same network. Credit unions should implement cybersecurity best practices to protect themselves from third-party software attacks.

As the importance of cybersecurity for financial institutions grows, regulatory requirements have become more complex. Financial institutions are increasingly regulated by federal, state, and international regulators. These regulatory requirements are constantly evolving to protect against cyberattacks. For example, more than 30 regulations have been implemented in the U.S. since the publication of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. To protect against cyberattacks, financial institutions must implement an effective cybersecurity strategy that addresses the most common threats that these institutions face.