In an era where digital transformation has revolutionized every industry, the banking sector has been at the forefront of innovation adoption. The exponential rise of digital banking, with an estimated global value of $12.4 trillion by 2025, according to a Business Wire report, has been both a boon and a bane. On the one hand, it offers a variety of opportunities for growth and customer satisfaction. On the other hand, it offers a feast of opportunities for cybercriminals and hackers to compromise a bank’s integrity, customer trust, and financial stability.
As the CEO/CTO of a bank, the responsibility for protecting the bank’s digital assets falls largely on you. One of the most crucial tasks is to ‘harden the attack surface’, minimizing potential entry points for cybercriminals to gain access to our systems.
Also read: Leading Bank in South Asia Falls Victim to Hackers!
Identification of the attack surface
Before you can harden anything, you must first understand what it is you are protecting. A bank’s attack surface is vast, encompassing every piece of the digital infrastructure, from the databases that store sensitive customer information to internal email systems and mobile banking applications.
A recent study by the International Data Corporation (IDC) estimated that banks worldwide would spend approximately $2.7 billion on advanced services. AI-powered cybersecurity solutions. However, according to another Accenture report, the financial sector is the most targeted by cybercriminals, accounting for 35% of all data breaches. This disparity underscores the urgency of taking a holistic and proactive approach to hardening our attack surface.
Hardening of the attack surface
To strengthen your attack surface, a multifaceted strategy must be adopted. Futurism recommends the following key steps:
Implement robust access controls: The principle of least privilege (PoLP) should be adopted to ensure that employees and systems have only the access they need to fulfill their roles. This approach minimizes the risk of insider threats and limits the potential damage if credentials are compromised. It is advisable to deploy a smart and intelligent system Identity and Access Management Solution (IAM) with agile multi-factor authentication and AI-powered access policies.
Embrace a Zero Trust Security Architecture: This model, coined by Forrester Research, operates under the premise of “never trust, always verify”. It assumes that every request, whether it originates from inside or outside the network, is a potential threat and must be authenticated and verified. For example, Microsoft’s successful adoption of zero trust security is an excellent use case, with the approach resulting in a 300% improvement in breach detection and response times.
Also read: Why do you need Zero Trust for your organization?
Deploy advanced AI-based threat detection tools: AI and machine learning can detect anomalies in network traffic, identify suspicious behavior, and predict potential attack vectors. Advanced Threat Protection or SIEM can offer a significant advantage. The implementation of the Darktrace artificial intelligence system by the Italian bank Banca Popolare di Sondrio exemplifies the power of this technology. They successfully thwarted sophisticated cyber threats, saving potential losses in the millions of euros.
Regular software updates and patch management: This practice seems simple but is often overlooked. According to the Ponemon Institute, 60% of breaches can be traced back to an unpatched vulnerability where a patch was available but not applied. Keep all systems, ports, networks and devices up to date with best in class vulnerability assessment and penetration testing (VAPT) can help prevent attacks through known vulnerabilities.
Establish strong cybersecurity awareness training.: Humans are often the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain. A Verizon report found that 94% of malware was sent via email. Therefore, regular cybersecurity training for employees to recognize and respond to threats like phishing attempts is paramount to thwarting the next big cyberattack on your bank.
Invest in a robust incident response plan: Even with the strictest measures, violations can still occur. When they do, fast and efficient incident detection and response action plan can limit damage and downtime. Notable is Capital One’s incident response during their 2019 data breach, which enabled them to quickly identify and rectify the issue, while effectively communicating the breach to stakeholders and customers.
Seek expert help: Cybercriminals are becoming more agile, sophisticated and creative in an era where banks struggle to keep up with intelligent security. So the million dollar question: how can you, as the CEO or CTO of your bank, prevent these attacks from happening? One of the smartest ways to do this is to seek help from a trustworthy and credible person. managed cybersecurity services provider that helps implement the right layers of cyber defenses for their banks and will leverage industry-leading threat intelligence tools and technology to track and stop such breaches in real time.
As we navigate the uncharted waters of digital transformation, hardening the attack surface is no longer optional, it’s a strategic imperative. The role of the banking sector in protecting the financial assets of individuals and businesses extends beyond the physical realm into the digital domain.
With our relentless pursuit of innovation, customer satisfaction, and growth, at Futurism we move forward with an unwavering commitment to strengthening attack surfaces for banks and maintaining the trust of their customers, partners, and suppliers. It is not just about protecting against financial loss, but about preserving the integrity and reputation of banking institutions in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.
Is your bank equipped to deal with a cyber breach? How strong is your bank’s security posture? Are you looking to strengthen your bank’s security architecture?
Schedule a consultation with our cybersecurity expert now!
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