Cybercriminals go where the money goes, and the obvious choice is the financial industry. Numbers would agree; the Verizon 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report states that 95% of cyberattacks are financially driven.
It’s no wonder the financial services sector is choc-full of regulations, compliance requirements, oversight, and yes, cybersecurity threats.
The number of ways to stay on top of everything — all while running your business, mind you — can be overwhelming. There are so many moving parts, so many aspects of the enterprise to secure, and so many ways to do it.
We wanted to break it all down and simplify the security game plan for the fiduciary institutions we serve. Here is a quick view of the financial threat landscape, a list of essential security protocols, and how Fortra solutions respond to specific finance-targeted risks.
Challenges to Financial Services Cybersecurity
Several trends contribute to the risks finance firms face today.
Digitization is probably the leading factor. As banks move services online, to mobile apps, and into the cloud, sensitive information once stored in paper triplicate within a file folder are now available at the click of a button from anywhere in the world. This is not new news, but as the digital business landscape complexifies, finance firms take on more risk than ever with the unprecedented growth of their attack surface.
APIs are leading the charge into the convenient financial economy, and they have security problems of their own. Still largely unregulated, they represent a single-point-of failure for myriads of different services, applications, and sites. The safety of a banking app relies on the safety of its APIs, and APIs continue to be the focus of premeditated attack.
Phishing is a tried-and-true method that’s not about to quit anytime soon, at least not while it’s ahead. Phishing attacks still take down financial institutions by the drove, proving to be a reliable method for launching ransomware, gleaning high quality credentials, and getting employees to wire money. According to one report, almost 50% of all phishing schemes were linked to the financial services sector. And in 2021, phishing was the most common attack vector against the industry. Not only prey, attackers today would make the finance industry out to be the predators as well: in Q4 of last year, more than half of all phishing ploys impersonated financial institutions.
Supply chain security is another part of the problem. Along with this we can add third-party integrations like money management apps, digital payment processors, and eCommerce sites. The financial institution at the head, say the bank, has to worry about not only the security of their own enterprise, but must now treat any organization with an inroad into their services with the same amount of scrutiny and accountability when it comes to cybersecurity. Considering the number of spun-up retail sites with back-end payment integrations alone, the amount of oversight could be astronomical. And each of those individual apps and services have their own APIs, cloud databases, and third parties to worry about, too.
Cloud migration is a sword that cuts both ways, especially for the finance sector. On the one hand, it’s made banking, investing, and other fiduciary offerings more accessible and convenient, especially on the organization’s side. It helps institutions scale to growing demand and augment their reach, servicing customers on mobile apps and around the world. However, it also creates an additional burden of complexity. Cloud security doesn’t work like on-premises security — it is not a direct transfer. That’s why there are ins and outs that only cloud security experts understand. Consequently, the lack of qualified experts, coupled with training downtime and inevitable learning-curve errors, can often create additional security risks for evolving financial institutions.
Essential Cybersecurity Protocols for Finance
Luckily, there are solutions that can help. Here are some essential cybersecurity protocols that can keep the financial services sector safe.
In response to growing compliance regulations, lack of data visibility, and rising cybersecurity threats, data classification has become a critical component for securing the vast amounts of data housed in financial institutions. Data classification lets you know what needs to be protected and to what degree — information crucial to banks, mortgage companies, and other financial organizations dealing with swaths of sensitive customer information. By feeding into DLP and DRM solutions, it helps companies avoid costly breaches and their associated losses. And it provides institutions visibility into the nature of their collected data so they can protect it by type — allowing SSNs, bank account numbers, and account credentials to get higher security than lists of branches, public communications, and marketing materials.
Managed File Transfer
Business, especially business involving the transfer of large sums of money, runs on files getting where they need to go safely. Managed file transfer (MFT) solutions empowers financial institutions to do business at the speed of business by facilitating the secure transfer of sensitive customer data, in large amounts, and in a compliant manner that doesn’t slow things down.
While they can often seem like an impediment, financial compliance regulations are by nature intended to protect the finance industry. And they do. However, they can become so burdensome that organizations are ironically tempted to cut corners in security just to comply. Partnering with an organization that provides compliance-ready solutions or managed compliance services can help fiduciary institutions meet the stringent safety requirements of GDPR, PCI DSS, SOX, GLBA, and more.
Because financial firms manage between 10 and 20 touchpoints daily, delivering a consistent customer experience is a high priority. However, on the back end, delivering a consistent security experience should be just as important. The average company uses over 76 cybersecurity solutions, and financial institutions are no exception. Vendor consolidation can help financial organizations combat tool sprawl, shelf ware, and inefficient fixes. It can also help ensure that the tools they do have all work seamlessly and maximize the others’ potential.
Fintech is a microcosm within the financial industry that plays by its own rules. It has its own compliance regulations and requires security expertise all its own. Many established banks integrate with an increasing number of these “new bankers”, which can jeopardize their security posture by association; an ImmuniWeb study revealed that 64% of fintech firms failed to meet GDPR compliance requirements and 62% couldn’t comply with PCI DSS. To stay safe, financial organizations need fintech specific cybersecurity from experts familiar with the terrain.
Fortra Financial Cybersecurity Solutions
Fortra provides extensive, in-depth security for the financial services sector. From credit unions to financial technology, we have the expertise, industry knowledge, and bespoke solutions to help firms succeed in today’s challenging threat climate.
We understand what financial institutions today are up against, and we know how to help. That’s why:
- Fortra’s Agari keeps institution emails and data safe from sophisticated phishing attacks, insider threats, and accidental data loss.
- Fortra’s Digital Guardian helps FinServ safeguard PII and intellectual property while meeting data privacy and compliance requirements like FINRA, SOX, GLBA, GDPR, and NYDFS mandates.
- Fortra’s Titus supplies data classification solutions to major financial institutions around the world.
- Fortra’s Core Security helps firms manage and prioritize risk by providing financial security offerings like penetration testing software and security consulting services.
- Fortra’s GoAnywhere enables financial institutions to meet PCI DSS and other file transfer requirements with MFT for finance and banking.
- Fortra Managed Web Application Firewall addresses PCI DSS and other compliance mandates for website and API protection.
- Fortra’s Tripwire provides world-class on-premises, cloud, and managed security solutions to protect financial systems and help them stay SOX compliant.
- Fortra’s Digital Guardian Secure Collaboration enables FinServ to securely share PCI data and sensitive consumer PII — with anyone, anywhere, and any way.
Fortra is committed to finding or creating the solutions that can face down the perils of today’s financial threat environment. Cybercriminals are after money, and they know where to look. Financial institutions need the tools that take their unique requirements into account and eliminate sector-specific pain points — all while providing the world-class protection economies deserve.
Join the host of global FinServ organizations that have partnered with Fortra and let our financial services cybersecurity solutions continue to secure your growth.