As many industries increase their reliance on technology, cyber threats increase too. This rise in technology dependency provides cyber criminals with a vast field of targets to try and harvest data. Cyber attackers mainly prey on businesses with the most data that can achieve maximum impact and revenue.
Hence, it’s no surprise that the financial services sector faces a more significant cybersecurity threat than other sectors. This sector possesses massive customer databases and money. That is why, as a financial company, you must invest in cybersecurity tools and service providers.
Importance of Cybersecurity Service Providers
Some operators in the financial sector may not have the muscle and resources to deal with cybersecurity threats adequately. Others may feel that cybersecurity isn’t their primary operational mission.
Thus, experts recommend using managed security service providers (MSSP) to boost their data protection. With MSSP providers, you can have quality tools and an experienced workforce for effective cybersecurity. Consequently, using them can let your team focus on the business’s core operations.
Without the MSSPs, your network can face a higher risk of cyber-attack exposure. Data breaches and cyber-attacks can come from various threat angles. Below are some top cybersecurity threats to the financial services sector.
The Supply Chain Threat
As a financial service provider, you can depend on third-party vendors to help boost your services and improve customer satisfaction. However, you don’t fully control these vendors’ security systems. It can be a gateway for cybercriminals trying to penetrate your network.
The exchange between the vendors and clients can involve sharing, transferring, and storing sensitive data and information. If the vendors’ cybersecurity protocols are substandard, the client data will likely be breached.
You need the services of these vendors. However, you must protect yourself and your customers from threat exposure. To guard against supply chain threats, cybersecurity experts recommend implementing the zero-trust architecture (ZTA) and reinforcing the privileged access management (PAM) policies.
Distributed Denial of Service Threats
A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is a threat that attempts to overwhelm a victim’s website. It does this by flooding your number of online requests, making your server shut down, thus taking you offline. During the downtime, your cybersecurity team will likely be busy trying to restore services.
DDoS can create a chaotic environment among your cybersecurity team. This situation allows cybercriminals to initiate other attacks like ransomware. Thus, you may face a more significant problem when your network returns online.
Even if no other attack follows the DDoS one, the time you’re offline means your online financial services aren’t available to your customers. Thus, it can cost you your reputation. It can lead to significant losses as some clients may opt to drop your services altogether.
You can use protective tools or integrated preventative services to guard against DDoS attacks. For instance, using the remotely triggered back hole (RTBH) can help filter out traffic before it hits your network.
The Insider Threats
According to cybersecurity experts, an organization’s first line of defense is its team members. Suppose your team isn’t aware of cyber hygiene protocols, the risks of data breaches increase. Some insider threats include clicking phishing emails, using personal devices for work accounts or company devices for personal accounts, and having a poor password.
Additionally, staff members who have separated from the company can use their knowledge of the network vulnerabilities to aid cybercriminals. Accounts or devices that are no longer in use can also give a backdoor to cyberattacks. And this can happen if your cybersecurity team is not updating data using relevant data protection software.
These human-related actions create a significant challenge to the financial services sector. To help you minimize these threats, training your team members on cybersecurity best practices is vital. In addition, implement device use protocols. It could help ensure the team doesn’t use devices for the wrong accounts.
Whenever a team member exits the company, the account and devices related to the user should be deactivated and disconnected from the network.
Web Application Injections
Various financial services use web-hosted applications for reference or service delivery. These applications, however, present vulnerable entry points that hackers can use to access their networks. It is because web applications are easily accessible. Additionally, they’re user reliant. Therefore, your customers can unknowingly facilitate web application attacks.
Web application injection is one of the oldest cyber threats. Moreover, it has a vast attack surface making it even more dangerous. Some experts may refer to these injections as malware attacks because hackers use a code to trick a site into showing sensitive information. Examples of web application attacks include structured query language injections (SQLi) and cross-site scripting (XSS).
An attack from these injections can lead to data and monetary losses. Additionally, they can precede other attacks like DDoS and ransomware attacks.
As financial services carry large and sensitive data in their networks, cyber threats are an ever-present risk in their operations. The above are some of the top cybersecurity threats the sector faces constantly. It’s important to note that one threat can be used as a diversion for an extensive one. Thus, ensuring you have up-to-date cybersecurity protocols in your organization is crucial.
Jason is the Marketing Manager at a local advertising company in Australia. He moved to Australia 10 years back for his passion for advertising. Jason recently joined BFA as a volunteer writer and contributes by sharing his valuable experience and knowledge.