8 Cybersecurity Risk Factors Financial Institutions Often Overlook
Financial institutions have moved most of their operations online. But then, like many industries, this industry faces a wide range of risks when operating online.
The cyber risk landscape is becoming more complex every day. However, cybersecurity professionals are overlooking common cybersecurity risk factors. However, these professionals need to give every risk the attention that it deserves. Otherwise, there's a risk of exposing an organisation if some risks get overlooked by these professionals. This article will look into some of the most overlooked cybersecurity risk factors in the financial industry. Here are some of them:
1. Vendor Risks
There's an incredible amount of sensitive data held by financial institutions. This includes social security numbers, credit card information, account credentials, etc. Some people who may access this data include payment processors and point-of-sale providers, usually known as vendors. Most financial institutions don't consider these vendors a threat. Therefore, they focus most of their cybersecurity framework on other risk factors. However, it is essential to monitor all vendors continuously. This will keep you aware of any threats these vendors could pose to your computer security.
2. State-Sponsored Attacks
Financial institutions, like many businesses, put in measures to prevent cybercriminals. What most of them don't realise is that governments can also pose severe threats to them. A foreign government may launch an attack on a financial institution to destabilise a country. The best way to prevent this is to have a robust security framework. It needs to look into the potential of certain governments attacking organisations. This will help them prevent data theft and the spread of fake news about their institution. Overall, good OT security could keep a country and economy stable.
3. Employee Errors
Banks have a thorough hiring procedure for their staff. But then, employees can still pose serious security threats even if they are honest and trustworthy. However, employee errors have increased in recent years. This has increased the number of insider attacks recorded recently. The best way to stop this type of attack is employee training. Another way is to prevent access to suspicious sites by using cybersecurity solutions such as firewalls, proxies, etc. They can also use these solutions to prevent suspicious emails from getting into the business email addresses.
These cybersecurity solutions can boost operational technology security for businesses. In the end, they also act as protective layers to prevent attacks in case employees mess up unknowingly. This makes them worth investing in as a financial institution.
4. Data that has been Manipulated
Cybersecurity professionals usually aim at preventing data theft. However, cybercriminals do not always aim to steal data. They come to manipulate it and hurt reputations and customer trust. Technology security professionals at financial institutions, however, do not realise the changes in data early enough. They continue to work with the same data as it looks unaltered on the surface. For instance, they can make payments to wrong accounts for months without any alarm. Financial institutions realise this too late. By then, they have suffered substantial financial losses. The worst thing is that nothing can be done to recover the loss.
5. Mobile And Web Application Security
Financial institutions are implementing operational technology at a larger scale today. It has become easy for customers to access banking services anywhere from their mobile phones. These institutions continue to increase their budget on mobile application development, but so are the vulnerabilities.These institutions must look into the security of mobile and web applications. Using operating technology, they can easily monitor every transaction on their applications. Besides, they can use technology to check for any security holes in their systems and enhance safety.
6. DDoS Protection
Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks come with severe impacts on businesses. However, financial institutions haven't taken them with the seriousness they deserve. Attackers use these attacks to blackmail a business or distract its cyber security team and find time to execute more attacks. Many businesses blame downtime on high traffic and other things. But then, they fail to consider a DDoS attack as the potential cause of the lack of service. An excellent solution to DDoS attacks is cloud migration. Using cloud services increases a business's capacity to handle DDoS attacks.
7. Unencrypted Data
As mentioned earlier, financial institutions hold a massive amount of sensitive data. It is this data that cybercriminals target most of the time, hence the need to protect it. One operational technology security strategy to implement for data protection is encrypting it before transmission. With cybercriminals lurking all over the internet, data encryption is vital. These institutions must use cybersecurity solutions like proxies to protect data in transit. Assuming that the data you are sending will get delivered safely is one of the ways to expose an entire institution.
Spoofing has been on the rise in recent years. However, financial institutions have also not taken it with the seriousness it deserves. With this attack, criminals impersonate a financial institution's website. They create a parallel site that looks exactly like the institution’s. This is to trap visitors into unknowingly logging in to their accounts. Users then log in as usual but on the fake website, exposing their credentials to the criminals.
The hackers gather as many customer details as possible into a database. They then use them to log into the institution's website as legit users. Before the bank knows it, the attackers have passed all of its security frameworks. The institution may not even realise it until a significant financial loss happens. This is, therefore, a risk factor worth keeping in mind today.
Technology plays a critical role in the successful operation of financial institutions. But then, it also comes with several risks that could expose banks and other businesses in the industry. As mentioned earlier, there are many risk factors, but security professionals give less attention to some.
If you run a bank, your security framework should consider every risk factor. Take your time to assess the cybersecurity threats that you could face as a business. Then, implement the right cybersecurity solutions to protect your operational technology. This article has listed some of those you could forget.