Four Biggest Cyber Threats to Financial Sector

The banking industry is especially vulnerable to cyber attacks, as hackers use stolen banking credentials and data to siphon millions of dollars from the financial system. As banks’ digital footprint grows and their solutions become more advanced, their attack surface has widened. As a result, banking and cybersecurity solutions, such as those available at https://www.fortinet.com/solutions/industries/financial-services, are required to protect against cyberattacks. Here are four of the biggest threats facing the financial industry today. 

Credential stuffing

Using leaked data from other companies, attackers are gaining access to multi-accounts in financial services and the attached resources. Some financial services systems fail to implement multi-factor authentication, making these attacks especially vulnerable to hackers. Successful attacks have already caused multi-million-dollar losses at some organizations. According to a recent FBI report, credential stuffing attacks are responsible for the most number of cyber attacks in recent months.

Although initially targeting video streaming, food delivery services, and online gaming, credential stuffing has gained momentum among professional hackers. Since the rise of the internet, hacking groups are targeting financial services providers, including banks. Banks face an increased risk of direct and indirect losses. To combat credential stuffing, banks must work together across teams and implement multiple layers of defense. Only by working together can banks protect their customers and the overall health of their businesses.

 

Ransomware

One of the most significant cyber risks facing the financial industry is ransomware. Hackers have increasingly used social engineering tactics like phishing to spread ransomware. According to FinCEN, $590 million in ransomware attacks targeted banks in the first half of 2021. It is an increase of 42 percent from 2020. While there are many threats to the financial sector, ransomware is among the most prominent.

As the threat of ransomware grows, so too has its average ransom demand. According to the most recent figures, an average ransom demand of $170K per attack is expected in 2021. This figure includes various costs related to rebuilding systems, restoring data, business downtime, lost orders, and reputational and emotional damage. The figures also include the costs of resolving any ransomware issue in 2021, which are estimated to be about $1.5M. Moreover, ransomware attacks have become particularly common in smaller companies.

 

Phishing

As the financial sector deals with other people’s money, phishing is one of the biggest concerns. As a social engineering method, phishing can lead to malware infection and the transfer of funds. The threat has been one of the main focus areas for banks for decades. 

Cyberattacks in the financial sector are on the rise. Cybercriminals and nation-states target them for profit, political leverage, and ideological influence. As a result, cybersecurity is more important than ever. The financial sector continues to experience higher rates of confirmed social engineering attacks than other sectors. The COVID-19 pandemic has also given hackers a new target.

 

Unsecured IoT devices

These IoT devices carry the potential for security breaches, but small companies may not understand the risks. Hence, early implementation of data protection strategies is critical. Data protection measures such as visibility, classification, encryption, privacy, and log management systems are essential to safeguard data. In addition, organizations should place devices in tamper-resistant cases, strip information off parts, and bury conductors in multilayer circuit boards.

Since IoT devices are constantly exposed to a more extensive physical attack surface, they have a high attack surface. Without a secure location, hackers can access data and control devices, and they can even damage these devices to steal private information. Consequently, this problem affects many companies and institutions, including the financial industry. However, cybersecurity standards for IoT devices are improving.

 

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