Financial Services Cyber Threat

How can Financial Services Combat the Threat of Cybercrime?

Financial Services Cyber Threat

Research published by the cyber threat intelligence company, Insights painted a clear but bleak picture of cybersecurity in the BFSI space. The Banking & Financial Services Cyber Threat Landscape Report (April 2019) revealed that banks and other financial service firms are 25% more susceptible to malware attacks. The YoY increase in the number of compromised credit cards stands at 212%. Credential leaks increased a whopping 129%, and malicious apps skyrocketed by 102%. 

Around the globe, banks and other financial institutions are facing more aggressive and frequent attacks, which are also getting more and more sophisticated and severe. As credit card compromises have increased, cybercriminals are using the exposed credit card numbers to make small purchases, as the practice does not attract a lot of attention. However, these small purchases pile up to create nearly ten times more free money than what the cards are worth on the black market.

There is a range of widespread attacks BFSI companies need to shield from, and here’s a wrap of a few of them.

Top 3 Biggest Threats to Banks and Financial Institutions

Financial institutions need to guard their IT environment against these cyber risks to ensure a healthy security arrangement.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is the crime of using someone’s sensitive information, credit history, or other identifying features to make purchases or borrow money without the person’s permission or knowledge. When there’s a data breach, the compromised information becomes available for sale on the dark web. The stolen data can then be bought, sold, or integrated with other pieces of information to perpetrate identity theft or account takeover on a grand scale.

Banks and financial institutions can navigate this risk by building more identity checks to identify and authorize the user every time they check into the system. 


In 2017, financial services were the second largest targeted industry for ransomware after healthcare. BFSI is still the most victimized sector by these threats. Ransomware is malicious pieces of software that block access to a website, portal, or information until a sum is paid. These have been proven effective for attackers as the victim is asked for money directly. For this exact reason, it is unlikely they might curb in the future.

BFSI companies need to ensure that attackers do not get to access sensitive information even when they crack the network shield.

Social engineering

Social engineering is a way of deceiving people into giving their information or exploiting their laziness or weakness to find that information. Social engineering is believed to be the most frequently used method to get into an organization’s network these days, even before exploiting a technical flaw.

Many enterprises have woken up to the fact that their people are their weakest cybersecurity links and that measures need to be taken to train and inform them about the common threats that arise because of their lack of knowledge and negligence.

How BFSI Organizations Can Navigate Cybersecurity Challenges

Addressing all kinds of cyber threats includes:

  • Transforming your IT security landscape – Digital transformation efforts require companies to engage in a security transformation of equivalent measure. This includes moving from point security products, reactive security, and manual security management to a strategy where holistic security elements are integrated into a single system. This arrangement would also have security workflows spanning network ecosystems, threat intelligence centralized, and threat detection and response automated. 
  • Integrating automation into security – As the speed of threat increases, businesses have less time to detect, prevent, and remediate them. Since response times are critical, implementing extensive and integrated security automation is vital from health data collection, inspection, and coordinated responses to threats.
  • Identifying and monitoring all equipment and devices – An essential step to combating threats like crypto-jacking is to maintain an inventory of devices used internally and by users, through network access control and baseline their behavior. With this data in hand, businesses can detect any unruly behavior on these devices and detect intrusion before it leads to damage.
  • Securing through simulated offensive attack – Offensive cybersecurity aims to intrude your network, devices, and servers to discover any vulnerabilities in them. Strategizing cybersecurity arrangements and using a simulated attack can help you give you both, a bird’s eye and a detailed view of your present methods.

Ensuring the overall security of an enterprise means taking a hard look at the security of applications, cloud, network, and blockchain implementations. As BFSI companies face sophisticated attacks, they will need to analyze and test security protocols to become more stringent with what users can access and retrieve.

In the US, financial services firms fall victim to cyberattacks 300 times more frequently than businesses in other industries. On February 8, 2019, multiple credit unions in the US were hit by spear-phishing emails that impersonated compliance officers from other credit unions. 

A month ago on January 10, 2019, the US secret service identified criminal rings turning to Fuze cards to avoid detection by the US law enforcement. A Fuze card is a storage device that looks like a bank card but holds data for up to thirty cards. 

These recent instances of cyber breaches in BFSI companies paint a grave picture of the state of cybersecurity in the US.

WeSecureApp can help companies uncover vulnerabilities and plug them. Learn more about our services here.

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