Cybersecurity in banks and financial services providers is of great interest to both the leaders of these organizations as well as the clients they serve. It makes sense why hackers would want to target these businesses. The data of bank customers is incredibly valuable to both the bank and the customer. If this data is compromised, hackers could be in for a major pay day.

The statistics back up this line of thinking. A study released in 2018 showed that the financial services industry experienced the most security incidents. In many cases, ransomware has become the attack of choice for hackers launching cyber attacks on banks. This is one of the latest malware threats to take the world by storm and it allows hackers to lock down data and hold it for ransom. If the ransom is not paid within the allotted time frame, the data is deleted and businesses may be left scrambling to put the pieces back together. It’s estimated that ransomware could cost businesses around the world over $8 billion.

With the importance of cybersecurity in banks, how can these organizations stay ahead of hackers looking for their next big hit? This article will outline how to optimize cybersecurity for this data-dependent industry.

Protect Data and Plan for Recovery

Whether considering cybersecurity in banks or any other type of business, there are a number of steps that must be taken. Cybersecurity is not one basic solution but rather a whole host of different cybersecurity efforts all working together at once to provide multiple levels of protection.

The first step is to ensure that data is protected and a plan to restore data is in place should a cyber attack occur. One of the greatest financial threats to a bank would be a significant loss of customer data combined with prolonged downtime to bring essential operations back online. Protecting this data can greatly reduce that threat, even in a worst-case scenario.

First, financial services providers must ensure that regular backups of data are completed and verified. This data should be encrypted and stored outside of the main network in order to protect the information in the event of a ransomware attack as well as other cyber attacks.

Of course, protecting and backing up data are only one part of the solution. A recovery plan must also be implemented to ensure that the data can be restored and operations can be resumed quickly. This includes identifying affected equipment and removing it from the network, if necessary.

A recovery plan is not a simple undertaking. It must consider all programs, operations, employees, and needs of the business. More importantly, a recovery plan must be regularly reviewed to account for changing IT staff, new equipment, and new software rollouts.

Identifying and Blocking the Latest Malware Threats

In 2018, 5 new malware threats were identified every second. Of course, this only includes the threats that were actually released into the wild. Many more threats could be developed and waiting in the wings as hackers perfect their craft and wait for the right moment to strike.

The battle against malware is an ongoing one. Security researchers and IT professionals are constantly looking for the latest threats to businesses and individuals. Identifying these threats and blocking them with up-to-date malware blocking software are a key part of preventing serious cyber attacks on banks.

Sometimes, stopping malware can be as simple as ensuring that software and device updates are done regularly to fix bugs and close loopholes. In other cases, implementing software solutions that identify and block malware-containing emails, files, and links before they can reach users is necessary. As mentioned previously, stopping the latest malware threats means implementing several layers of security rather than one basic solution.

Employee Education and Re-Education

Malware threats and hackers are not going away any time soon. Cybersecurity in banks depends on the employees of the bank to be educated and aware of how cyber threats can manifest themselves. Not only does this allow employees to avoid these threats, they can identify and report threats to the responsible departments, which helps improve cybersecurity even more. Education for new employees, ongoing education for existing employees, and a simple ticket system to escalate issues must be in place to ensure cybersecurity for any organization.

Build a Complete Solution

The greatest financial threats facing banks today may very well come in the form of malware. Customer data, banking information, and the reputation of financial services may be at risk if cybersecurity is not taken seriously.

To learn more about cybersecurity in banks and how a complete solution can be implemented to protect against cybersecurity threats in the financial sector, please contact Donnellon McCarthy Enterprises today.