Emerging Cybersecurity Challenges and Solutions in the Finance Sector

With emergent cybercrime poised to disrupt digital businesses more than ever, what can financial firms do to fortify their defences?

Rob May, Managing Director and founder of ramsaclooks at some emerging trends in cybercrime and how firms can  best defend themselves.

Security, for financial clients, has had to adapt to many forms in the last decade. The most recent, and urgent, line of defence has come in response to the unexpected, novel threat of a global pandemic. But as more clients onboard their operations to digital platforms, that risk grows and becomes ever complicated. Remote operations, for example, opens a place of business to both insider attacks and outside ones.

While the financial service industry has always been one of the “most-breached sectors” (accounting for 35% of all data breaches), cyberattacks have become even more widespread and sophisticated during the global pandemic. This is, arguably, because operations have had to quickly onboard their business digitally. And, with new digital models, there are troubled spots, or weaknesses.

With more financial companies seeking to create new digital customer experiences, investing in a wealth of technology innovations, and working remotely, this could result in a new wave of extreme cyberattack scenarios leaving companies vulnerable to serious data breaches or worse.

To gain deeper insights and help guide financial companies in their decision-making when it comes to cybersecurity, we’ve rounded-up the emerging cyber threats, how they could evolve in the future, and solutions to address them during these challenging times.

Be Watchful of Malware

Cyber-risk management should be watchful and vigilant of the most common cyber-risks. Malware will  breach systems and ransom, corrupt, or steal data. Even though it’s common, over the years, several US states and counties (including Texas) have observed a growing intelligence about how these attacks are delivered. One scenario noticed several malicious ransomware attacks at once, effectively a multiparty attack, reaching across jurisdictional boundaries to result in the first cybercrime event of its kind.

Cyber-risk management should be watchful and vigilant of the most common cyber-risks.

The solution, a suitable line of cyber-defence, would include early planning and preventive measures for multiparty attacks and disruptive threats. Oftentimes awareness is a helpful starting point. But defence and security measures alike need to anticipate more complicated, organized cybercrime as it becomes increasingly sophisticated.

For those in finance, a defence plan could include trial simulations to measure internal response times and mock scenarios to help security teams shape their reactions for real future attacks. Likewise, building cross-sector peers and contacts, can be helpful in organising a defence to a larger cyber-risk.

Misinformation Can Deceive

This has been one of the largest threats throughout COVID-19 and has rallied a shared, collective attempt to cull the flow of misinformation online. Many known bodies, including NASDAQ, have predicted a possible spike in market manipulation on the heels of COVID-19, where attention is split between a global pandemic response and economic recovery.

Misinformation can conflate what seems like harmless advice on stock investments, but is actually driving malicious activity. These disruptive attacks tend to prey on market volatility and flagging economic confidence. In the past, these attacks have been known to use fraudulence as sleight of hand to conflate stock values.

A reasoned solution to this issue would require financial firms to conduct extra due diligence and caution when navigating the market and instructing their clients on financial manoeuvres. As surface information could be corrupted, extra research and investigation can steer financial decisions away from malicious foul play.

Data Manipulations Are Disruptive

Traditionally, data was duplicated or destroyed. Whilst this was harmful to firms, the next evolutionary stage of cyber-crime, since the latter half of 2019, has moved onto data manipulation. There have been scenarios where data hacks can be twisted to manipulate or encrypt it. This has led to increased scrutiny for cloud security, which has known vulnerabilities.

Before onboarding new digital solutions for your business, ensure it can be securely bridged. New technologies can be helpful in expanding a business’s productivity, but this should be approached cautiously.

There are a range of emergent threats that result from cyber-risks. The best, more reasoned, solution is to prepare for cybercrime by having a prepared line of defence and the right security tools. The booming of digital businesses, and those migrating online, creates a greater urgency than ever to prepare security to handle a new universe of threats.

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