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According to a renowned security firm report, ransomware cyber-attacks globally rose to 1.2 million/month in the first half of 2022. This is a fourfold surge from the year earlier.

Scary but true.

Banks and financial institutions hold sensitive customer information, such as social security numbers, bank account details, and credit/debit card information. Cybercriminals often target such data for identity theft, fraud, or other illegal activities. A successful cyberattack can have severe consequences for the bank and its customers, resulting in financial losses, reputational damage, and legal liabilities.

Given the massive spike in cybersecurity attacks, businesses must fine-tune their cybersecurity incident response plans. These plans must be tested repeatedly in a simulated environment to ensure they hold water.

In this article, we'll provide some tips for enhancing cyber security measures.

Common types of cyber attacks

There's a wide range of cybersecurity attacks that organizations face. The common ones are given below:

Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)

In this attack, the hacker gains access to networks for a prolonged period to continuously gain confidential information.

Malware attacks

Malware attacks are malicious software that infects computers and devices with viruses, trojans, and worms. Malware attacks can cause a lot of damage to systems and networks, as well as stealing sensitive information.

Phishing attacks

Phishing attacks are fraudulent attempts to obtain sensitive information such as passwords, credit card details, and other personal information. These attacks come in the form of emails, text messages, or phone calls that appear to be from a legitimate source.

Denial of Service (DOS) Attack

In this form of attack, the networks are flooded with traffic, which in turn leaves legitimate service requests unattended. A variant of this is a distributed denial of service (DDOS), where multiple systems are used to launch the attack.

SQL injection

Here, the hacker manipulates a standard SQL query in a database-driven website. SQL injection attacks occur when an attacker can inject malicious SQL code into an application's input fields or parameters, which is then executed by the backend database.

Cryptojacking

Cryptojacking is a cybercrime in which the attacker hijacks another individual/organization's computing resources to mine cryptocurrency.

We need high-end and powerful computer systems to analyze and work on complex algorithms for crypto mining. So, hackers target such systems and hack them. This usually starts as a phishing attack, running crypto mining scripts in the background. It generally doesn't affect the computers or victims' data but uses the CPU processing resources.  

Cyber security checklist for banks

As we increasingly adopt the cloud, data is accessed anywhere, from any device. Due to this, it is very important to manage security concerns on the cloud.

Companies need to think about the following:

  • How can they measure the security of the resources that are running in the cloud
  • How to monitor this on a day-to-day basis
  • What does it mean from a security compliance point of view
  • Do they have any tool to measure the security posture of these resources, and if yes, do they have a person or team who understands the technology and is equipped to take the right action in case of a compromise or attack
  • Do they have a strategy to enhance security monitoring at different levels.

Indeed, cybersecurity threats have become more complex and sophisticated in the modern digital landscape. Banks and financial institutions need a comprehensive security framework that combats these evolving cyber threats. One such robust security framework is the Zero Trust Model.

Zero Trust Model 

Not so long ago, everyone came to the office, and we had all the monitoring-related aspects, like firewalls within the office. But now folks are dispersed, apps are moving to the cloud, and in some cases, they are moving to multiple cloud providers (like AWS, Microsoft Azure, etc.). So, there must be a more unified way of tracking and monitoring this.

Today, more and more companies are implementing the Zero Trust Model as a part of their infrastructure.

The Zero Trust model is a security framework and approach that assumes no trust in any user, device, or network component, whether inside or outside the organization's perimeter. Instead of relying on traditional network boundaries for security, the zero trust model focuses on verifying and authenticating every user and device, regardless of their location or network connection. It emphasizes continuous monitoring, strict access controls, and least privilege principles.

Zero Trust is based on certain principles' foundations:

Multi-factor authentication

MFA, or multi-factor authentication, is a very strong principle of Zero Trust.

It proposes that if a user is trying to access a resource, one must be authenticated by multi-factor authentication before gaining access to it. This means it’s not sufficient if the user is just logged in with his corporate username and password. One must be authenticated by another form of authentication (like through an authenticator app or phone).

Network segmentation

If a business has a network (say, a corporate network), this must be segmented into smaller chunks of network or segments. Then each segment must be isolated from the other segments, so if one of the segments is compromised due to an attack, the other isolated segments are unaffected.

So, to understand and implement this, it is important to know the existing architecture to segregate it into small segments optimally.

Limited access time

Another principle is limited access time, where users will get access only for a limited time span, depending on the configuration implied in the system.

Zero Trust is not a single product or tool that a company can adopt overnight. Implementing it requires a combination of technological solutions, policy frameworks, and organizational cultural shifts.

More tips to enhance cyber security

Cybersecurity measures are an ongoing effort for banks and financial institutions. However, they must start with the following essential steps:

Educate employees

Train employees in cybersecurity best practices and a basic understanding of data protection. Employees are often the first line of defense against cyberattacks, so it is essential to ensure they are aware of the latest threats and how to respond to them.

Regular risk assessments

Conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities, including software and hardware updates. Perform penetration testing, and monitor network traffic for unusual activity.

Encryption

Use encryption to secure all sensitive data in transit and at rest. This includes data on servers and laptops as well as mobile devices.

Regular backup and disaster recovery plans

Develop regular backup and disaster recovery plans to ensure business continuity in the event of a cyberattack. Test these plans regularly to make sure they are effective.

Deploy firewalls and antivirus software

Deploy firewalls and antivirus software to protect against cyber threats such as malware and viruses. The software should be up-to-date with the latest security patches.

Use secure payment systems

Use secure payment systems to protect customer data during transactions. Ensure that payment systems comply with industry standards such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

Endnote

Organizations must take necessary precautions to protect their systems and customer data from cyber threats. Robust cybersecurity is essential to protect financial assets, maintain customer trust, comply with regulations, safeguard sensitive data, ensure operational continuity, and contribute to the overall security of the financial ecosystem.

However, this requires constant monitoring, adaptation to emerging threats, and investment in cybersecurity technologies and expertise.

Do you want to explore how Nagarro can help you with cybersecurity? Let’s connect!