3 cyber threats to watch out for in the finance industry

by | 20th April 2020

We don’t want to alarm you, but cyber threats are everywhere.

All industries are at risk, but the number one target is the finance industry.

In fact, financial firms are statistically 300 times more likely to be the target of a cyber attack, with the volume of breaches within the industry only expected to rise.

So, if your financial firm is concerned about data security, now is the perfect time to get yourself clued up.

But what specific threats should you be looking out for? Here are the top three.

1. Data theft and manipulation

Data is your biggest asset, which also makes it your most vulnerable.

Financial data, ranging from credit card details to customer addresses, is inherently sensitive. It’s this vulnerability that makes it valuable to cyber attackers. And, with over 76 percent of all data breaches being financially motivated, it’s not unreasonable to assume your financial organisation will be a target of data theft.

Unfortunately, if you don’t invest in watertight data security and your sensitive data falls into the wrong hands, your organisation could face nasty reputational damage as well as regulatory fines.

As data thieves adapt, it’s thought they may even adopt data manipulation tactics rather than data theft. This could result in targeted finance institutions having false, potentially harmful internal data insights.

2. Investment app insecurities

Investment firms are adapting alongside changing, mobile-driven consumer needs. However, as the number of investment apps grow, so do the number of security concerns.

Smaller investment firms who may not have the right internal skills may leave their applications unprotected. And this won’t go unnoticed by cyber attackers.

Basic protection methods, such as multi-factor authentication and secure payment certificates are essential for keeping your customer data secure.

3. Advanced malware attacks

More than 25 percent of all malware attacks affect financial institutions. This number is higher than any other industry, but the reality of what this could entail is even more frightening.

In 2018, a virus hit the Banco de Chile, affecting 9,000 devices and 500 servers. But this cyber attack was merely a distraction. While the bank tried to remedy the incident, the attackers used the global SWIFT banking messaging service to steal $10 million (£7,716,750).

As well as causing a big financial loss, this ‘cyber heist’ caused the bank’s trading numbers to fall dramatically.

With hackers becoming increasingly sophisticated, as well as creative in their tactics, financial institutions must ensure their data and finances are secure.

Coping with cyber threats in the finance industry

Unfortunately, cyber threats are a sordid reality within the financial services industry. But just because you can’t avoid them doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare for them.

With the right preparation and skills, you can save your customers, data and employees from data loss, hefty fines and distress.

So, with that in mind, here are some of our top tips for dealing with nasty cyber threats:

  • Ensure your data is safe. Whether it’s on-premise or in the cloud, make sure your IT team or provider offer the best security. Cloud providers, such as Microsoft Azure, often provide leading security measures, real-time threat detection and ongoing security ‘health checks’. However, on top of this, create a stringent data security policy that’s followed across your organisation.
  • Protect employee accounts. Hacking into apps, devices and accounts is easier than you might think. Deploying multi-factor authentication or biometric authentication across your employee accounts will deter cyber hackers. What’s more, user permissions will allow you to restrict access to sensitive information.
  • Educate employees. From phishing attacks to accidental insider data breaches, employees can cause a lot of harm without even knowing it. Providing them with the right cyber security training or support from an IT specialist will keep them alert for threats.

When it comes to keeping your financial business safe, subpar security simply won’t do.

But, don’t panic! With the help of your IT team or expert IT partners, your organisation can sleep easy knowing your data and customers are safe.

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