When Western nations placed sanctions on Russia, the threat of cyber attacks on banks increased. To protect themselves, banks have been taking a range of precautionary measures. If you run a financial institution, you need to ensure you’re ready to protect yourself against these types of threats. Here’s what you need to consider.
Cyber Threats Facing Banks Right Now
Russian hackers and other criminals present the following cyber threats to the banking industry:
- Ransomware — Malicious software that prevents you from accessing your data until you pay a ransom. Often, paying the ransom doesn’t help because after all, you’re dealing with criminals.
- Malware — A contraction of the words “malicious” and “software”, malware damages and destroys data and programs on your network. Criminals often trick users into downloading malware, using social engineering attacks.
- Denial-of-service attacks — If a hacker commits a denial-of-service attack, your customers won’t be able to access your bank’s website.
- Data wiping and theft — Besides money, data is your bank’s most critical asset, and in some ways, it’s even more important than cash. Hackers may steal or wipe out data to hurt your financial institution. Often, they do both at the same time.
The cyber threats facing banks right now are largely the same as they have been for years. However, the current geopolitical climate presents heightened risks for financial institutions. To protect your bank and your customers, you need to pay extra attention to cyber threats right now.
How to Protect Your Bank From Cyber Threats
To protect your bank from cyber threats, you need robust cyber security that includes employee training. In particular, you may want to embrace the following strategies:
- Network monitoring — Monitoring your network ensures that you spot failures or weaknesses before they get found and exploited by hackers.
- Testing patches and updates — Once you find and fix issues, you need to ensure the patch works. Testing is critical.
- Searching the network for threats — In addition to looking for vulnerabilities in your network, you need to search for active threats. Often, hackers gain access to a network before they initiate the attack. To find them, you need to constantly search for breaches.
- Staging cyber drills — Like fire drills, cyber drills simulate a cyber-attack and give your team practice responding.
- Lining up additional staff — Responding to and mitigating a cyber attack can take a lot of human capital. To prepare, you may need to line up additional staff or find ways to scale your team quickly if needed.
- Studying historic tactics of Russian hackers — Hackers often use the same playbook. To protect your financial institution, you should understand the threats these criminals are the most likely to use, and in many cases, those are the same tactics they used in the past.
- Utilizing cyber security intelligence — Cyber intelligence collects information from private and public data sources such as online forums or the dark web. It develops an understanding of the current threats and helps you ensure that you’re using the most relevant tactics to protect your financial institution.
- Urging vendors to increase security protocols — Your financial institution probably works with a wide variety of third-party vendors. They can range from the company that cleans your bank branches to the IT firm that developed your banking app. If these third parties aren’t secure, they can compromise the security of your bank. You need to ensure that your vendors also commit to improving security protocols.
Financial institutions are always susceptible to cyber threats, but right now, they need to be even more vigilant than normal. The key to protecting your financial institution is preparation. You need to be proactive against threats, rather than reactive.
In other words, you want to prevent cyber attacks not just detect them. This approach reduces your risk of losses, minimizes mitigation costs, and protects your reputation.
At SQN Banking Systems, we stay on top of the latest threats, and we’re always looking for new ways to protect our clients.
We can help you improve your financial institution’s security against fraud and cyber threats. To learn more about our tools and solutions, contact us today. We want your bank to be secure, regardless of what’s happening in the world.