Banks are the first point of financial transactions for millions of people. Most banks got digitized, and the customers do all transactions online. Since all the banking activities get done online, the risk of cyber-attacks increases enormously. Banks are always looking for top-notch cyber security solutions that help them protect their customer’s data better. Cyber security is also vital to protect the banks from ransomware attacks, employee data, and critical financial documents.
Top 5 cyber security threats
Banks do not underestimate the vitality of cyber security in banks anymore as new digital threats pop up every day. Banks need a clear security protocol that their employees, management, and customers must follow diligently.
The top cyber security threats faced by the banks are phishing, malware, and ransomware attacks. Sensitive data theft or manipulation and spoofing are the next significant evolving threats posing a massive danger. Banks worldwide are trying everything to stop ransomware attacks with robust security systems.
Data manipulation: A malware enters a bank’s system and changes minor data through microprogramming, causing unexpected losses. A program that latches itself into a bank’s customer database starts collecting one dollar from millions of customer accounts and self-destructs itself. The cyber attackers accumulate millions of dollars within an hour, and it becomes impossible to locate them as the program erases in a short time.
The customers do not know about such a minor transaction glitch as they lose only one dollar. The bank’s reputation gets damaged severely, and its entire security system is compromised when such an attack takes place. Such programs can also change essential details in bank data that might affect a specific customer or the bank policies, like altering the interest rate of loans.
Duplicate websites: Spoofing websites often appear when you try to log in to the bank’s home page online. Customers get directed to a page similar to your original bank’s page and enter the log-in username and password. The data goes to cyber attackers who collect such data from several customers. They use it to log in to the bank page and release ransomware or malware.
Ransomware attacks: Causing system downtime is the main aim of ransomware attacks as huge banks will lose massive money for every hour their system is not working. They have customers worldwide, and two to three hours of system downtime will affect millions of transactions. The ransomware creators will demand a payment to release the system freeze and allow normal functioning.
Malware: Malware attacks in a bank’s security system are notorious, extremely hard to find, and cause widespread damage. The malware often enters a bank’s security system through employee emails in the form of attachments. Business email compromise (BEC) and Email account compromise (EAC) are the two significant ways malware enters a bank’s system through executive or employee emails.
Impersonation attacks: Phishing or impersonation attacks target the customer rather than the bank authorities. Customers get an SMS or an email requesting to click a link from the bank to learn about an offer. The links request the customer give their credit card numbers, debit card details, and personal information like mother’s maiden name, place of birth and date of birth, etc.
They use the details to contact the actual bank and impersonate the customer to change the password, mobile number, or email address. Once the changes get authorized, the cyber attacker will get the OTP for the transactions they do to their mobile and wipe out the customer’s bank account in no time. They will create credit card debts, apply for a loan with a false identity, and indulge in various fraudulent activities.
Ensuring state-of-the-art cyber security for banking
Cyber security systems to protect the banks and their customers are evolving with the increase in cybercrimes. There is a huge demand for experts in the field in all the banks and private companies offering such services. The staff and the customers get trained to be aware of the numerous scams and how to spot them to avoid becoming victims through such expert teams.
SPF, DKIM, and DMARC – SPF, DKIM, and DMARC email protection protocols help to avoid BEC and EAC scams. SPF or Sender Policy Framework provides extra security to databases and requires all inventory, invoices, and emails to use a specific template to prevent impersonation. DKIM and DMARC technologies use digital signatures and advanced machine learning artificial intelligence bots to spot and filter impersonation emails.
Encrypted emails – Banks’ comprehensive cyber security solution provides extra safe encrypted emails to all employees. They also check whether all the emails the employees and executives receive and respond officially come from authorized domains and the right IP address. Supplier impersonation emails or fake emails requesting data or funds are filtered efficiently to control bank scams.
Multi-level authentication for credit cards – The customers are provided credit cards with high encryption and multi-level authentication. The banks try to educate customers never to click on any anonymous links in the SMS or respond to direct phone calls. They also educate them on spotting phishing websites that will differ slightly from the original bank’s website.
Constant monitoring for ransomware – Holistic cyber security protocols effectively protect the bank and customer data, and a team works on constant monitoring for ransomware. If there is any attempt to breach a weak point of the bank’s firewall or security system, automatic measures to prevent downtime get triggered.
Use of phishing detection tools – When a bank gets a call to upgrade an email or mobile number, most huge banks send executives directly to cross-check details with the customers to avoid scams. The security team uses phishing detection tools to search for websites similar to the bank’s site and report against them.
Data security – Fraudulent loan requests for starting a business or a personal loan, data theft, and database changes are intimated to concerned authorities and customers immediately. Customers authorize it if they initiate it, and the executives know about the changes in real-time.
Close eye on third-party programs – They will spot discrepancies and alert the security team if they suspect a particular change. Banks also conduct periodic checks on their database and security systems to upgrade and ensure they are working flawlessly. The security protocols regularly scan the bank’s system for any third-party program or virus latching into it to avoid data manipulation.