Cyber Threats: How Financial Services Can Respond

Cyber Threats are real. The internet turned the world into one small village. Communication became easier and faster, and with the introduction of the first online bank, everything, as we knew it changed. It became easier to carry out transactions via a mobile device or a computer.



The joy, however, was short-lived. Bank robbers using guns and force graduated to using a computer to rob banks by stealing information and injecting malware into bank systems.

Cyber ThreatsFinancial institutions are the most vulnerable to breaches more than any other business in different sectors. Several threats face the financial sectors, and they fall into two categories- internal and external. Internal includes:

1. Internal theft and fraud: Fraud by employees is an expensive liability for any organization.

2. Staff carelessness: Carelessness from end-users is one of the biggest threats to organizations

How to respond to internal cyber threats

Internal policies and processes

From the onset, you should have clear policies and processes that will be a common reference point for the whole organization. When done thoroughly and appropriately, the policies and processes will point the way towards making sure there are consistency and uniformity in the processes and practices of the organization.

Staff education

All financial institutions need to hold all the employees to high accountability for the organization’s security, not just the information security team. Hold security awareness education sessions that empower the employees to do the right thing in the event of a security incident.

External cyber threats

External cyber threats for financial institutions exist in several forms:

Hacking

While online banking makes our lives more convenient, it comes with risks such as opening you up for hacking. You must take steps towards protecting your financial institution from hacks, data breaches and other cyber threats such as Trojans, session hijacking, Phishing, etc.

Using a VPN ensures that all data is encrypted. Banks and financial institutions use 256-bit encryption, which ensures no one can intercept your communication. Download a VPN to ensure you keep all customer data safe from hacking.

Customer attacks

All financial services institutions such as banks, merchants, vendors and other companies that use online merchandizing have seen a need to secure all transactions performed online. Hackers look for the weakest link, which is often the customer.

Emerging threats

We live in very interesting times, and technology is evolving very fast. The more opportunities that emerge in technology may be good for consumers, but they present loopholes for hackers. This means that you have to keep a step ahead of the hackers, who keep coming up with new ways to steal data.

How to respond to external threats

You can respond to externa threats, by using perimeter protection. A combination of physical security, technology, and trained personnel deployment is often the most effective security integration method and creates several defense layers, which protect the organization’s perimeter.

User authentication and authorization

Improving account security and simultaneously simplify the customer’s digital experience is a challenge. Online security begins with an authentication process, which should confirm the user is authorized to use the service and is not a hacker. Authentication consists of single and multi-factor authentication and when appropriate, more layered security when necessary.

Patch management

It is important to create a patch management process, which ensures the appropriate mitigation measures are employed against threats. Patches apply to different components of the bank’s information system, which includes servers, operating systems, desktop, routers, firewalls, mobile devices, email clients, and various components that are found in the network infrastructure.

Customer education

Training and education for clients are among the most critical precautions that are necessary for safeguarding the clients’ confidential data. The customer gets professional guidance on protecting themselves from electronic fraud, ID theft and other threats they may come across while doing online banking.

Conclusion

I’m going to stress it again, cyber threats are real. Investing in technology for information technology is more than just spending top dollar. It should be supplemented with education for the entire organization on the standard, rules, and the value of the data. After providing appropriate training, the employees will be able to combat cybercrime in good time.

Watch this space for updates in the Hacks category on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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Staff Writer

Running Wolf's Rant's correspondent who chooses to remain anonymous...

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