By Rob Otto, Field CTO EMEA at Ping Identity
The pandemic has caused major upheavals in how we work, driving many businesses to move away from office culture and toward more flexible methods of working instead. This transition is still in the experimental stage, as businesses try to figure out and test new post-pandemic working models for their businesses and employees.
When workers started accessing company apps and resources on personal devices over home Wi-Fi, excessive unpatched vulnerabilities were created, and the door was opened for criminal actors. Home workers, for example, are great targets for phishing and malware attacks that try to steal personal information or get into corporate accounts.
The banking sector was disproportionately hit, with ransomware assaults up 1,318 % year over year in the first half of 2021. In fact, according to IBM, 23% of all cyber-attacks are directed at financial institutions. Businesses all over the world are under pressure to secure their cyberinfrastructure. Responsible leadership is a critical component of any transformative path, particularly one toward cyber resilience. To prevent being a victim and motivate others to follow, leaders should make the effort to lead from the front and support cybersecurity practices.
So, how can financial institutions effectively manage cybersecurity threats in the long run?
Identification is Key
When the dramatic change to remote working occurred in early 2020, business executives and IT teams were focused on immediately allowing their workforces to be functional, with security taking a backseat.
However, everyone in business must be proactive in order to prevent fraudsters from using stolen identities and credentials. Knowledge of cybersecurity and information systems is critical since it serves as the foundation for averting a cyber breach or attack. Employees should be taught (and trained) in cybersecurity since a security vulnerability cannot be addressed or reported if it is not identified.
Choosing the proper degree of security is critical for a company, and the following are among the most important.
The first phase in the process is identification, in which a user submits information about themselves while creating an account. A genuine user will supply accurate information, but a fraudster may provide fraudulent or stolen information.
Secondly, verification, which requires the user to demonstrate that the information they gave is correct, is crucial. Because stolen identities can be used to open accounts, this step stops fraudsters who can’t show proof of their identity from setting up fake accounts.
Finally, authentication, which necessitates users to prove their identities, is needed. Methods used for verification, such as fingerprint scanning and face recognition, are also used for authentication. If the user is logging in at a time, place, or other situation that is unusual, adaptive authentication will ask for more information to make sure they are who they say they are.
Companies must construct a bridge that connects all ecosystems, allowing them to succeed while ensuring that only the appropriate people have access.
Another tool in financial institutions’ arsenal is multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA, at its most fundamental level, requires confirmation that users are who they claim to be. Before access is permitted, users must present verification from two or more authentication factors.
A hacker or unauthorised user may be able to obtain or purchase a password on the dark web, but their chances of gaining access to a second authentication factor are small and will require considerably more work. As a result, MFA stops the bad guys from getting into your systems and getting your data.
Because most organisations lack the time and resources to eliminate the need for usernames and passwords to authenticate users, additional means of validating a user’s identity are necessary. In multi-factor authentication, users have to show proof of their identity from two or more authentication factors before they can get access to their account.
A final area that financial institutions need to ensure if adequately protected is their Application Programming Interfaces (APIS). The number of APIS being developed in financial services has skyrocketed in recent years, propelled by digital transformation and the critical role APIs play in both mobile applications and IoT. Whether an application is aimed at customers, workers, partners, or anybody else, the client-side communicates with the server-side through an API.
Concerningly, APIs are often widely documented or readily reverse-engineered since they are frequently accessible via public networks, which makes them appealing targets for criminal actors. An attack might include bypassing the client-side application in order to impair the operation of an application for other users or compromise sensitive information. API security is concerned with protecting this layer of the application and talking about what could happen if a bad person tried to hack into the API directly.
Due to the crucial role, they play in digital transformation and the access to internal sensitive data and systems they provide, they need a dedicated strategy for security and compliance. Because digital transformation programmes speed up the introduction of new APIs, it is important for organisations to look at new APIs for appropriate security measures.
Securing for the future
Cyberattacks on financial institutions continue to be a major source of revenue for cybercriminals. Despite the fact that financial institutions have increased their cybersecurity measures, the shifting and growing strategies of cybercriminals are making it more difficult for them to stay secure. In order to be successful, all leaders must ensure that their organisations have a strong security culture. The need to keep the team informed about potential threats and train them on how to react in the event of a crisis is now more critical than ever.
The use of sophisticated login methods, such as multi-factor authentication, may help to protect against client-facing social engineering attacks. Even if fraudsters manage to get consumer login credentials in such an instance, they will be unable to access the financial firm’s website. Multi-factor authentication can also help protect against internal assaults by fraudsters attempting to obtain access to sensitive data.
Most importantly, educating both consumers and staff about social engineering may assist in mitigating the impacts of this kind of assault on both parties. Financial institutions may reduce the danger of email hacks by delivering training materials to clients in the form of newsletters and detailed training to personnel.