Our world is changing. It is undergoing rapid and massive digitization. It would be safe to claim that we have the global pandemic to blame for that. However, we believe that we would have gotten there anyway given the trajectory of our current technological advancements.
Education, various business processes一almost everything can already be done online these days. The world has passed a point of no return and will never go back to what it was pre-pandemic. What has been made digital will remain digital. While this new normal does offer a lot of conveniences, it also presented a new set of challenges, particularly in cybersecurity. And of all the industries that have gone online, it is probably the world of banking that we are most concerned for. What are the financial problems that these changes will pose?
In this article, we are going to talk about the biggest threats to cybersecurity in the banking sector. Let’s start with the most basic: unencrypted data.
Data encryption is the process of converting data from a readable format into a decoded one. Various institutions usually have their own specific codes. In this way, no one would be able to easily read their data outside the firm, should their data fall into the wrong hands.
Think of data encryption as both the vanguard and the rear of cybersecurity. An effective encryption process can deter people with malicious intent. And if they ever get their hands on the said data, they would still have to try to decrypt it anyway before it can be of any use to them. These added security measures can be truly valuable for any financial institution.
The next imminent threat is malware. While we have no doubt that most financial institutions work with competent cybersecurity agencies in order to protect their devices from being hacked, it is also true that this might not include their staff.
A breach into a system is still possible through a compromised employee phone. All he needs to do is to connect to the office’s computer network and a hacker can already begin accessing compromising information.
The same thing can happen when you’re collaborating with a third-party service. We understand how convenient it is to employ a third-party service. It can potentially save time, money, and other resources.
However, it can also expose your financial institution to certain risks if your partner doesn’t have effective cybersecurity measures in place.
The best solution to prevent potential attacks in this manner remains to be adequate employee training. Make your staff aware of the very real (and billion-dollar) repercussions of a security breach.
It is also possible to limit the access of your employees. Just let them access the minimum data that they need in order to perform their tasks. This is for their own protection as well.
Finally, running comprehensive background checks and being particularly careful with the people you hire will also help. Just make sure that your checks remain compliant to prevent any issues.
As for business partners, one should never be afraid to ask about potential partners’ cybersecurity efforts.
Another big concern is data manipulation. There are three ways in how your data can be manipulated. First, it can be stolen, copied, and distributed elsewhere, much like how hackers are able to create realistic company pages for phishing. This is called spoofing.
Data can also be deleted. This is particularly true for bigger financial institutions with competing firms. An attacker might not really have the intention to steal information but to mess up the system by deleting crucial bits of data.
Can you imagine the panic that will ensue if a financial institution suddenly lost all its client information?
Finally, data can be edited without the owner’s knowledge. Despite the common belief that data-stealing is the worst cybersecurity attack that can happen, we still believe data alteration worse. That’s because this attack is a bit difficult to detect right away.
It’s easy for bigger companies to detect if their data has been stolen and being used with malicious intent. Data deletion is a complete giveaway. You will learn that an attack has happened right after it did. There’s even a chance of stopping it halfway if you’re lucky to catch it early enough.
What makes data alteration particularly detrimental is the fact that it can’t easily be detected. A firm can go on for months without even knowing that an attack has happened. After all, the manipulated data may look unaltered on the surface, but the truth is, hundreds (if not thousands) of micro edits have already been made. If the hacker succeeds, the financial institution may be held liable to pay millions of dollars in damages.
How Imminent Is the Threat?
The cybersecurity threats that we have mentioned above are just some of the most common ones that financial institutions globally are faced with every day. It’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are definitely other forms of cyberattacks out there, and even more, being developed by the minute.
According to Mark Whelan, a banking expert from the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, cyberattacks are more prominent and brazen than ever before. It has even reached the point that they are receiving up to 10 million attacks in a month.
For him, this is the biggest threat that financial institutions are currently facing, and experts predict that it’s only going to get worse.
Indeed, it is a brave new world that we’re living in. The risks and threats that we are facing right now are so stark in contrast to what we have experienced in the past. Gone are the days of bank heists with guns blazing. Instead, the bigger threat is probably wearing a sweatshirt right now in a random room somewhere across the globe. The fact that you wouldn’t have to take such a risk on your life makes the prospect even more appealing.
This has led financial institutions to prioritize cybersecurity efforts and training. Fortunately, with adequate risk assessment and planning, we are confident that you will be able to prevent severe cyberattacks from happening.
Jim Hughes is a content marketer who has significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business topics. At the moment, he is the Director of Content at OpenCashAdvance.com.