How the Financial Industry Can Strengthen Their Cybersecurity

Elise Silagy

April 14, 2020

Having a strong cybersecurity posture is incredibly important for any industry, but the financial services sector needs to be particularly vigilant.
While many of us likely remember the CapitalOne hack of 2019, most cyberattacks in the financial sector aren’t covered by the media to the same extent. This means that many financial organizations still feel that they are unlikely to be targeted, even though, according to Forbes, 35% of all data breaches target financial institutions, making it the single most targeted industry.

Why Is Cybersecurity Important in the Financial Industry?

How the Financial Industry Can Strengthen Their Cybersecurity
Cybercriminals target the financial industry because that is (quite literally) where the money is. Not only are financial institutions responsible for safeguarding their client’s money, but they also hold large quantities of customer personal data, including SINs, credit card numbers, and other highly sensitive information.
When a financial institution experiences a data breach or falls victim to a ransomware attack, they risk more than losing access to critical files or even experiencing financial loss, either by being robbed or by having to pay a ransom to unencrypt their files. Consumers trust their banks and other financial institutions to safeguard their money and their personal information, and when that trust is broken, it can be difficult to earn back.

Biggest Threats That The Financial Industry Face

Though the financial services industry faces many cybersecurity threats, the biggest threats most financial institutions face are:

State Sponsored Attacks

When most of us think of cybercriminals, we think of a lone wolf out to line their own pockets with other people’s money. While that is often the form cybercrime takes, state-sponsored attacks are also a serious threat. Some governments target not just foreign governments, but also foreign stock exchanges, foreign banks, and other economic pillars in an effort to destabilize the target country.
To acknowledge the devastating effect cyberattacks can have on countries, NATO declared cyberspace as the fifth domain of warfare in 2016. This recognized the critical role that IT plays in a country’s existence.

Employee Error

How the Financial Industry Can Strengthen Their Cybersecurity
Though cybercriminals often employ sophisticated techniques to gain unauthorized access to organizations’ computer systems and data, too many attacks are ultimately caused by human error. Phishing and other social engineering attacks continue to trick employees into revealing sensitive information, essentially handing the keys to the digital vault over to criminals.
There are 3 main reasons employee errors occur:

  • Employees haven’t been trained to effectively recognize and avoid cybersecurity attacks.
  • Employees aren’t following cybersecurity protocols correctly.
  • Employee devices aren’t configured correctly. This problem is more common in BYOD environments.

In rare cases, employees act maliciously and steal sensitive information themselves.

Third Party Vendors

Even if your organization has a robust cybersecurity posture, are all of your third party vendors as stringent as you are? Organizations that use third-party vendors are exposed to more vulnerabilities, increasing their chances of experiencing a breach. In 2014, retail giant Target had to pay an $18.5 million settlement after cybercriminals gained access to their network using valid credentials stolen from one of their third-party vendors.
Not only do third-party vendors increase the number of entry points into your network, but they have their own IT and cybersecurity platforms and configurations that are outside of your control, making it more difficult for you to secure your network.

What Can I Do to Improve My Organization’s Cybersecurity Posture?

There are quite a few things your organization can do to improve your cybersecurity posture. To begin with, you should work with your Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) to take stock of your current protocols and identify gaps. Then, you should work with your MSSP to create tailored cybersecurity protocols to address your needs and safeguard your network.
For more information about basic steps your organization should be taking, please read our blog post Cyber Hygiene 101: Basic Steps to Keep Your Company Secure.

Post Categories

Related Posts

What Your Business Can Learn From Netflix About Credential Sharing

What Your Business Can Learn From Netflix About Credential Sharing

Credential sharing, the practice of using someone else’s digital identity to gain access to a platform or product, has become commonplace, particularly when it comes to video streaming services. While credential sharing brings with it obvious user-end security issues for organizations of all sizes in all verticals, it also poses a serious problem for organizations that depend on the revenue generated from paid user accounts. 

read more
The Growing Trend of “Hacktivism”, & What it Means for Businesses

The Growing Trend of “Hacktivism”, & What it Means for Businesses

When most people think of a hacker, they think of a loner hiding in a dark basement, destroying computer systems and other digital resources for personal financial gain, or a sophisticated computer whiz employed by a foreign government up to no good.
However, in recent years, a growing number of hackers have been putting their skills to use for a different reason: activism. This trend, dubbed “hacktivism”, is on the rise and can have serious consequences for businesses of all sizes in all verticals and industries.

read more

VirtualArmour Solutions

Detection, investigation, and resolution of your security alerts
Prevention and visibility to protect you from a breach.
Support and monitoring of your firewall and overall security

Evaluation of your infrastructure for vulnerabilities and security gaps.

Team of cybersecurity experts that can bolster your existing security team or supplement light IT staff – to manage and monitor networks, devices, & assets.

Level of Need

Essential Services

Requirements for devices, investigations, and tickets are for a smaller IT environment that needs less.

Requirements for devices, investigations, and tickets are for a larger IT environment that needs continuous white glove service.
One time engagement. Single Service Implementation.

Partners

Become a Partner

VirtualArmour partners with companies focused on providing solutions for cybersecurity

Portal Login

About VirtualArmour

Our Team

When people, process, and technology work together, great things happen.

Articles and Resources

Your best resource for articles, tips and best practices for every cyber security situation.

Technology Partners

Learn more about how our team supplies and services, the latest hardware and software solutions.

Careers

Read about life at VirtualArmour and search for current openings.

Industry

Read more about the industries we serve and our solutions to keep you safe.