Banks spend a lot of time and money protecting themselves from data breaches and hacks, but if you run a financial institution, it’s now time to add another threat to the list: data manipulation. Most cyber threats focus on stealing information, but data manipulation is when hackers change financial records, bank account details, or even stock market information for their own financial gain.
Data manipulation doesn’t just affect banks. The risk affects all businesses and people in general. According to Michael Rogers, Director of the National Security Agency, data manipulation is number two on his list of top three security threats. The only threat that ranks higher is an attack against critical infrastructure. That type of threat is something along the lines of turning off the power grid or changing the chemicals that get put in an area’s water supply.
With data manipulation, the situation looks a bit different. In terms of a bank, a data manipulator might do something as simple as lower the interest rate on their own loan, or manipulate the amount of deposits so there’s more money in an account. In other cases, they might raise the limits on a credit card or delete transactions to lower the balance. The effects can be wide-ranging and hard to find.
The first line of defense is access controls. On an internal level, you need to control who can see your data. Ideally, there should be various levels of access, depending on each individual’s level of responsibility in the company. While this helps to prevent and reduce internal data manipulation, it also reduces the number of avenues through which hackers can gain entry to manipulate the data in your system. Remember, hackers target privileged users such as your management team, loan officers, and anyone else who has high-level access.
Data Activity Monitoring
Also, make sure that you have controls in place to monitor your data. In banking, the numbers are constantly changing, but the right software should be able to analyze credit card transactions, debits, and loan information. If the software finds amounts that exceed what a customer spends, repetitions that don’t fit the usual trends of an account, or other suspicious activity, they can suggest a manual audit of the situation. At that point, you can look at the numbers and transactions to figure out if the data has been manipulated.
When hackers can penetrate your system, your financial institution loses money, but beyond that, your customers lose trust in you. Even if a customer’s information isn’t personally affected, they may lose confidence in your ability to safeguard their money if they hear that you’ve been affected by a breach or manipulation.
Staying on top of cyber security and threats isn’t easy, but at SQN Banking Systems, we offer fraud protection you can trust. From transaction analysis to signature verification to exception item workflow and more, we can help you put in the software and controls you need to keep your institution and your customers safe. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.