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Bank’s Common Cyber Security Threats and Safeguards

Banking Froud in IndiaMuch of a bank or financial institution’s operations take place with the use of technology, including through the Internet. According to the RBI’s annual report, bank frauds of ₹100,000 and above have more than doubled in value to ₹1.85 lakh crores in FY20 as compared to ₹71,500 crores in FY19. Also, the number of such cases has increased by 28% in the same period. Without solid cyber security measures in place, your bank’s sensitive data could be at risk. Here are the below are some biggest threats to a bank’s cyber security.

i. Unencrypted Data

This is a very basic yet crucial part of good cyber security. All data stored on computers within your financial institution and online should be encrypted. Even if your data is stolen by hackers, it cannot be immediately used by them if it’s encrypted; if left unencrypted, hackers can use the data right away, creating serious problems for your financial institution.

ii. Malware

End user devices such as computers and cell phones that have been compromised by malware pose a risk to your bank’s cyber security each time they connect with your network. Sensitive data passes through this connection and if the end user device has malware installed on it, without proper security, that malware could attack your bank’s networks.

iii. Unsecure Third Party Services

Many banks and financial institutions employ third party services from other vendors in an effort to better serve their customers. However, if those third-party vendors don’t have good cyber security measures in place, your bank could be the one that suffers. It’s important to look into how you can protect from security threats imposed by third parties before you deploy their solutions.

iv. Manipulated Data

Sometimes hackers don’t go in to steal data they simply go in to change it. Unfortunately, this type of attack can be difficult to detect right away and can cause financial institutions to incur millions of dollars in damages, if not more. Because the altered data doesn’t necessarily look any different than unaltered data on the surface, it can be challenging to identify what has and hasn’t been altered if your bank has been attacked in this manner.

v. Spoofing

Spoofing where hackers will find a way to impersonate a banking website’s URL with a website that looks and functions exactly the same. When a user enters his or her login information, that information is then stolen by hackers to be used later. Even more concerning is that new spoofing techniques do not use a slightly different but similar URL they are able to target users who visited the correct URL.

vi. Identity Theft

Identity theft is the utilization of a person’s personal and/or financial data without their approval with the motive of conducting a concealed fraud. A privacy breach in a bank can also lead to the information of the bank’s customers being sold or purchased on the dark web by other cybercriminals.

The core internet banking system is a mission-critical component of any bank’s revenue and business operations. Its failure, breach, or unavailability could lead to transaction delays for thousands of customers or even land a massive sensitive data exposure. No bank can afford such upheaval. Thus, keeping these systems secure and running is crucial to the bank’s sustainability.

The internet banking system works through a wide set of applications, networking devices, internet service providers, and many other entities. All of these are potential entry points for attackers. However, the internet-facing applications are the primary targets of the cyber attackers who aspire to bypass them and obtain unauthenticated access to sensitive data of the bank and its customers. These critical internet-facing applications of a bank can be either web or mobile applications.

While it is not to be argued that banks share the larger responsibility here, some onus of security of a customer’s financial information falls on themselves as well. Following basic security protocols and being vigilant while transacting can ward off most foul advancements that may come their way.

Following basic security protocols and being vigilant while transacting can ward off most foul advancements that may come their way. Below are some ways banks and financial institutions can safeguard themselves.

i. Get a Security Solution

Monitoring every transaction/traffic request manually for possible security threats can get tedious and impractical in the long run. Banks must strive to automate all scanning and monitoring processes with a website firewall that filters & blocks malicious traffic at the entry door.

An ideal firewall is the one that detects and stops all raging attacks of the time. In addition, it must also track patterns of attacks targeted on the organization specifically and watch out for those as well. A security solution should also be easy to configure and customize. And the reporting and analysis is easy to comprehend for an average business professional.

ii. Audit the Application

Almost always a cyber-attack is traced back to some open vulnerability or loophole in your own system. To maintain a vulnerability-free application, you must focus equally on internal threats as you do on the external ones. Development bugs, missing security rules, misconfigured systems, and outdated extensions are some of the most common security vulnerabilities noticed in organizations.

A full-fledged security audit done once every while is necessary to identify the vulnerable systems. Vulnerability assessments detect lagging infrastructure on the security front and bring them back in security order. Penetration Tests, on the other hand, test the security system in a real-life attack situation with simulated cyber-attacks and thus make for a component of a full VAPT.

iii. Abide The Compliance & Guidelines

Regulatory bodies have been built to guide operations of online businesses. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is doing great job by updating there Cyber Security compliance and guidelines regularly for Bank and Financial institutions. While some rules are universal to all organizations, financial institutions do have to abide by more than just one set of rules. Being aware of these implications and sticking by it is another way banks can repel hackers.

There are plenty more security measures that one can take, however, the ones listed above are the absolute unskippable ones. In order to protect them against cyber-attacks, banks should implement robust and impenetrable security solutions to ensure that the processing data via these applications must remain confidential and untampered.

To learn more about how to increase your bank’s cyber security, fill out our online form.