How your banking institution can protect against emerging threat trends

The Financial services sector continues to be the most targeted industry by malicious hackers following the digitization of various economies, financial systems, and the increased reliance on digital financial services. As more technologies are being introduced and security protocols are established, cyber criminals keep looking for new vulnerabilities to exploit. For instance, fraudsters increasingly target customers’ banking credentials and as more banks implement mobile banking applications or other initiatives, new vulnerabilities for cybercriminals to attack are introduced to the network.

Banking apps can be exploited from either the client-side or the server-side. This means that banks must be able to ensure that data is secure when it is being accessed from a customer device, as well as when it is stored on bank servers. Having an understanding of the emerging threat trends will help you build more informed security strategies that accurately assess your organization’s cyber risk.

Prevalent threats include:

  • Malwares. They have notably been used by cyber criminals to attack vulnerable end-user devices and software having no recent patches or updates, to cause damage or gain access to banking networks and obtain important user data. A recent report by IntSights indicates that 25.7% of all malware attacks last year, were targeted at banks and financial institutions, which is more than 27 other sectors that are being tracked by the report. It is crucial that banks work with their security teams to ensure that both customer and employee devices cannot be compromised.
  • Data manipulation. When a malicious person gains access to a targeted system via malwares or other means, they make undetected changes to data for personal gain. An example of this is, if a malicious person, posing as an employee, modifies customer transactional data for their own gain, it will likely go unnoticed, as the transactions will appear legitimate, leading to mistakes in how future data is recorded. The longer the manipulation goes undetected, the more damage it will cause. Since manipulated data does not look any different than normal data, these attacks are extremely difficult to detect.
  • Like other sectors, phishing social engineering attacks are not new in the banking sector, where company officials are impersonated in order to trick employees and customers into sharing information via emails, phone calls, or text messages. Hackers use misleading links in order to guide employees and customers to websites that are infected with malwares. This attack almost doubled to 39, 364 cases in the UK in 2020.

Applying security best practices can help you protect against emerging threat trends. Some steps include:

  • Periodic cyber risk assessment & keeping a dynamic security management policy. Performing regular cyber-risk assessments will help your organization identify and manage vulnerabilities within the network environment. By evaluating which risks pose the greatest threat to the enterprise, you can prioritize remediation efforts and streamline threat mitigation. This will allow you to proactively protect against data breaches while cutting costs and labor hours, and avoiding loss of reputation in the event of an attack. Additionally, keeping a dynamic security management policy ensures that threats are consistently monitored and the policy is updated to capture new realities.
  • Keep all systems and softwares up-to-date. The importance of keeping your systems and security softwares up-to-date cannot be overestimated. For instance antivirus and anti-malware softwares are frequently updated to address and protect against most recent cyber threats. Running the latest software versions will ensure that your systems are capable of mitigating cyber threats when they occur.
  • Periodic security awareness training. For your cyber security strategy to be effective, it is essential that you train your employees on cyber security consciousness and best practices. Employee training can also help to minimize the impact of a data breach. Also, when your security team are equipped with up-to-date skills and have the capacity to properly use cyber security systems, they can actively identify exploitable vulnerabilities on your enterprise and make sure they are addressed. Ideally you should have an incidence response team.
  • Periodic alert messages to customers. Sending regular alert messages to customers (via e-mail or SMS) will create valuable awareness of various cyber-attacks and other forms of threat so that they are not susceptible to attacks. By keeping them up-to-date with security best practices and strategies for mitigating risks and exposures, implies that you care about their financial well-being.
  • Two-factor and Multi-factor authentication. Insider threats pose huge risks to business security, be it employees, both present and past, or contractors. These users may have an elevated level of access to privileged accounts and can access valuable information, capable of undermining your business. Utilizing Two/Multi-factor authentication methods ensures that access is only granted to authorized persons with two or more login credentials. The credentials can include passwords, pins, or fingerprints. For an effective access control, it is important that the credentials being used are from different sources. Additionally, the authorizer’s details should be stored on the transaction that is being authorized, to provide an audit trail.
  • Anti-Money laundering systems (AML). AML systems can help you combat fraud as they come with critical features such as identity verification, real-time transaction monitoring, suspicious activity reporting, compliance reports, efficient investigation management, risk assessment and customer screening policies and procedures, and more, which are necessary to protect against fraud and meet regulatory compliance.


How Jethro can help

For your bank to proactively protect against threats, it needs to utilize a multilayered cyber security approach. With JETHRO’s JPrivacy Two Factor Authentication solution and Anti-Money laundering solution offerings, banking organizations are poised to protect against cyber threats, easily identify cyber risks and prioritize threat remediation. JETHRO is here to assist as your Fintech partner of choice in realizing your banking security compliance plan with innovative and competitive solution offerings. Contact us today!