Because That’s Where The Money Is. Top Cybersecurity Threats To Financial Institutions
By: Jim Stickley and Tina Davis
May 12, 2023
Since they’re not secured like Fort Knox, online banks, credit unions, investment firms, and other financial establishments continue to be prime targets for cybercrime. Cybersecurity Ventures finds in 2025, the global price tag for cybercrime will reach $10.5 trillion. The following attacks are used most often against finance firms.
Cybercriminals encrypt data files and demand a ransom payment to decrypt and return the files. Financial firms often choose the easiest and fastest response, which is to pay the ransom. Last year, Unit 42 of Palo Alto Networks found ransomware payments averaged an all-time high of $570,000 per attack, an 82% increase since the prior year.
These attacks avoid security measures and access a financial firm’s confidential information through one of their third-party vendors. These vendors have data bases full of their own client data, and just one attack can expose highly sensitive information belonging to their financial firm clients.
Although they don’t directly affect data security, DDoS attacks make servers and websites inaccessible to staff, clients, and other legitimate users. The goal is to shut down a target’s website with an overflow of activity and provide cover for more malicious intent.
These emails are one of the most successful and common forms of cyberattack in the financial world. Staff on all levels receive them daily, and hackers hope they’ve tricked the recipient to open their malware attachments and infected links. Once activated, they infect devices, steal data, and launch more egregious cyberattacks.
How Financial Institutions Can Bolster their Security
Keeping an organization informed about how to work more securely can help keep bad actor’s from getting inside a system. These protections can help:
- Create a security infrastructure plan to decide how your financial firm will react to cyberattacks. Having a tested plan can help minimize company downtime and keep data theft to a minimum
- Use MFA (multi-factor authentication) whenever possible. MFA creates different layers of user authentication and can keep hackers out of your business.
- Do regular cybersecurity checks. Since cybercrime methods trend over time, this can help expose system weaknesses. This includes keeping all system software, devices and apps updated, all well as security patch updates.
- Make the commitment and invest in anti-virus, anti-malware, firewalls, and updated hardware. Having these tools can send hacker’s packing.
- Encrypt all data to keep a hacker’s prying eyes off financial and other sensitive data.