With the prevalence of digitization, companies can generate new products/services for their customers by forecasting trends, analyzing consumer behavior, implementing agile methodologies and many more techniques. While all this has given the organizations an edge over each other in the market, it has also given rise to space for potential misuse of the technology by disrupting the cyberspace and thus affecting the industries dependent on it. Therefore cybersecurity holds immense value. Cybersecurity spending by companies has been rising since the past few years. The role of cybersecurity in financial services is even more important.
Financial institutions remain the top priority for cyber attackers since they can generate huge monetary value for them. Some of the cyber threats plaguing financial institutions:
Identity and credentials theft
Social engineering is one of the key threats among all. The theft of customer, employee and other third party credentials are some of the examples. Real-time payments are also attacked to divert huge funds.
Stealing of important and private data and monetizing them has been one of the top avenues for cyber attackers. This important data can be used for insider trading, thus generating tons of money in exchange. Information security in the banking and financial industry is thus very important.
There has been a rise in the attacks involving malware taking over the entire business network and IT infrastructure (Accenture). Cyber-espionage campaigns have launched ransomware throughout the financial sector and have disrupted their business. Millions of funds have been siphoned off through those attacks.
Blockchain, cryptocurrency and AI
Blockchain and AI are emerging technologies and the financial sector is not behind when it comes to implementing them. But crypto-laundering and AI technology hacking have been on the rise. A part of the blockchain can be disrupted and the cryptocurrency or funds transfer process can be jeopardized. Close to US$ 1bn worth of cryptocurrency was stolen in 2018 (Accenture).
Disinformation is on the rise. Cyber threats involving fake news, fake websites and many more are used to lure potential data and using that data, valuable funds are stolen online. Troll farms, twitter bots and fake news are some of the examples of this threat.
Reshaping the cybersecurity landscape
Since the financial institutions are involved in dealing with a huge amount of public money, it becomes even more important to design robust infrastructure to prevent such frauds. Therefore the investment in cybersecurity also has been increasing over the years. But there have been various challenges in properly implementing cybersecurity protocols across the financial industry. Some of the ways how the cybersecurity infrastructure in the financial industry can be strengthened:
A significant partnership with third parties and peers for a multisegmented approach and planning can be a good start. Professionals in the cybersecurity domain should be consulted for appropriate solutions as per the business model and regulations.
Proper investment in the right talent along with the correct processes and tools for identifying potential risks can help prevent the cyber-attacks.
Designing robust insider threat programs and solutions can help keep the malicious adversaries away from the valuable business information.
Organizations should look forward to improving online accountability by launching several threat detection applications. The transaction of data that is happening online can be authenticated and the process can be more secure.
Simulation of adversarial threats using various emerging technologies can help detect loopholes in the system. Thus companies can innovate solutions to prevent such threats in the future.
In the information age, when tons of data are being dealt with daily to generate a huge amount of revenues, data security and protection becomes very important. Any misplaced data or information leading to disruption in cyberspace can displace the trust of people in the financial industry. There have been several instances where billions of funds have been misplaced by cyber attackers. Therefore it becomes important to invest in the right talent to gain more traction in data security. Companies should re-evaluate their business processes and innovate the right cybersecurity solutions with a proper strategy in place. This will ensure a robust system that will help build a stable environment for operations in the financial sector.