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Cyber Attack On Banks And Finances - 20 Ways To Prevent Them
As more and more financial institutions shift all their transactions and procedures online, cyber attacks on banks and other financial institutions have become commonplace. Each day, cybercriminals are continuously hunting for new exploits to seize all the assets they can virtually.
The situation may sound terrible, but there are ways to protect yourself if you are managing a bank or any other financial institution. This brings us to today’s topic.
Common Types of Data Breaches
There are hundreds of exploits out there that can harm an individual or an organization financially. But the list below contains the most common methods of data breaches that can cost anyone a lot more than just money.
- DoS and DDoS attacks
- Identity Theft
- Intellectual Property Theft
- Malware Attack
- Messaging Abuse
- Password Sniffing
- Stolen Hardware
- System infiltration
- Website/ blog defacement
- Web Browser Exploits
How To Protect Against Cyber Attack On Banks
Personal awareness is the biggest defense against the endless onslaught of cybersecurity risks. We put together the top 20 ideas to protect against cyber attacks on banks
- Tip #1: Check If You’ve Already Been Victim of A Data Breach
- Tip #2: Check Password Strength
- Tip #3: Use A Password Manager
- Tip #4: Trust No One On Emails
- Tip #5: Secure All Devices
- Tip #6: Implement Security Hygiene
- Tip #7: Perform Risk Assessments
- Tip #8: Develop Strong Cybersecurity Policies
- Tip #9: Update Both Software and Hardware
- Tip #10: Train Your Employees
- Tip #11: Place Endpoint Protection
- Tip #12: Install Necessary Firewalls
- Tip #13: Backup Your Data Regularly
- Tip #14: Implement Access Controls
- Tip #15: Secure Wi-Fi
- Tip #16: Secure Employee Accounts
- Tip #17: Keep A Disaster Recovery Plan At Hand
- Tip #18: Use Data Encryption
- Tip #19: Use Multi-Factor Authentication
- Tip #20: Increase Customer Awareness
Tip #1: Check If You’ve Already Been Victim of A Data Breach
If your organization’s website has already been victim to a cyberattack, chances are that all your systems are still vulnerable. Some websites can check if your server is still vulnerable to cyberattacks.
A popular website for checking is haveibeenpwned.com. Here, you can detect parts of your website that have already been compromised, and fix them accordingly.
Tip #2: Check Password Strength
When setting a new password, don’t go for obvious passwords just because they are easier to remember. The first thing any hacker does is try out the most common information about you as the password, such as your birthdate, name, or something as simple as “password”.
You can check the strength of your password at howsecureismypassword.net. You don’t exactly have to type in your original password on the site, use something similar so you can estimate how strong your password is.
Whenever you’re choosing a password, remember to make the password as long or complicated as possible. A strong, standard password is at least 12 characters long that contains numbers and special symbols.
Tip #3: Use A Password Manager
In case you’re struggling with remembering complicated passwords or coming up with strong passwords in the first place, a password manager is a worthy investment.
Password managers can generate random strong passwords, as well as remember and manage them for you so that they don’t fall into the wrong hands.
Tip #4: Trust No One On Emails
Several major cyber attacks in the past have been done with emails. 2 great examples of these attacks are 1. The “Love Bug” attack, 2. “WannaCry” attack.
Be very careful when opening emails from unknown sources. Often these emails contain harmful attachments (malware, spyware, etc) and download themselves onto whatever device opens these emails.
If even one of the employees of the organization opens such a mail, the entire organization can be in jeopardy. The safe practice here is to only open emails from previously known/ trusted email addresses, along with putting unknown emails with attachments in the trash.
Another method, which can seem a bit cumbersome but is relatively safer, is to manually type the URL in the address bar instead of clicking on any redirected link.
Sometimes, these links redirect to where the hacker wants you to go, rather than their original destination. Unless these links are properly masked, it’s easy to tell just by looking.
Tip #5: Secure All Mobile Devices
Any employee of the bank can have their devices stolen, lost, or misplaced. These devices can be used to gain access to the network by using information present in said devices. Here are a few ways you can secure your mobile devices:
- Setting unique gestures, or fingerprint locks
- Setting passwords that are required before installing any application
- Leaving Bluetooth switched off unless necessary. Otherwise, keep it hidden and disable automatic connections with other devices.
- Enabling remote wipe functionalities if the device supports it.
Tip #6: Implement Security Hygiene
Security hygiene is an inexpensive practice that you should implement at your bank. These practices can be as simple as regularly updating the software or backing up your data.
There are many high-tech tools out there that can assist in the case of a large-scale cyberattack. But these tools come with a hefty price tag, and these tools are tailor-made for cybersecurity experts.
Instead of wasting money on fancy tools, spend the money instead to provide incentives to employees for maintaining a safe and secure work environment.
Tip #7: Perform Risk Assessments
Whether your financial institution is new or old and established, a vulnerability assessment for your servers is always a good plan. Technology is ever-changing, and new exploits are being discovered every single day.
When you run a risk assessment on your company server, you become aware of the security loopholes that are currently existing within your system and plan accordingly.
If you need risk assessment services, TechForing is ready to provide all the help you need to secure your financial institution.
Tip #8: Develop Strong Cybersecurity Policies
For every company, a security policy defines the entire infrastructure within a standard secure behavior. An ideal security policy is always in-depth, covering all the possible landscapes of security for the organization it’s present in.
When creating/ updating cybersecurity policy for a bank, always prioritize the sectors that require the most protection, especially sectors regarding client information.
Each sector of information should be thoroughly reviewed by a team of security experts to decide on the appropriate measure of security for said information.
Tip #9: Update Both Software and Hardware
When your software or hardware isn’t up to date, you are leaving your system vulnerable to different forms of attacks via security loopholes.
Software or hardware that is no longer supported by their developers contains security gaps that current malware can easily invade and infect. To keep your organization safe, make sure all the devices present in your company are thoroughly updated.
If the current hardware doesn’t support the latest update, it’s best to acquire the latest hardware to support all sorts of security updates.
Tip #10: Train Your Employees
One of the most common methods used by attackers when targeting any organization is to target employees. A careless employee can often pave the way for a devastating blow of cybercrime.
The most common method of exploiting any employee is through the phishing method. Any attacker can pretend to be an individual from upper management and demand access to important and confidential documents.
Here are a few tips that can keep your employees safe and in turn, your company:
- Check each link before clicking them
- When getting requests for access to certain files, confirm the request with the individual personally before complying
- Check the email address of the received mail, and verify if the mail is from the same individual they are claiming to be
Tip #11: Place Endpoint Protection
Endpoint protection is for networks that create a remote bridge between multiple devices. If the bridge is compromised, the devices connected to the bridge can be exploited as well.
There is software that provides endpoint protection, and investing in one of these can be a wise choice.
Tip #12: Install Necessary Firewalls
Hackers are finding new ways to execute new data breach methods every day, and these breach methods can penetrate any kind of firewall. Still, a fully updated network firewall can significantly reduce the risks and damages of a large-scale attack.
A firewall can block any primary method of attack instantly, provided the firewall is well-configured and implemented appropriately.
Tip #13: Backup Your Data Regularly
Cyber attacks are not the only risks that any institute faces. Hardware can fail anytime, corrupting all the data that is presently stored on the company server. To avoid such incidents, creating a schedule for creating data backups is a great practice.
Loss of data can lead to financial loss, as well as loss of credibility and in terms, loss of clientele.
Tip #14: Implement Access Controls
The easiest way to infiltrate any organization is from the inside. And who better to do it than an employee who has more access than he logically should?
This can be a major concern. The human mind is completely unpredictable, and any employee can go rogue at any time, despite being provided with the best working environment.
To prevent such unfortunate mishaps, implement strict access controls on all the possible sectors so that only selected individuals have access to data that they need to work with. Strict access controls decrease the chances of data leakage to unauthorized or unwanted third parties.
Tip #15: Secure Your Wi-Fi Network
Who doesn’t have wifi enabled device in 2022? Though it may sound fancy and convenient, it also opens the door to a whole new set of trouble.
When your devices are constantly connected to the internet, multiple devices that you own are constantly connected.
If even one of these devices gets infected, there is no doubt that the infection will slowly spread to the other devices as well, and your system will be compromised in no time. All this is possible simply by exploiting the insecure wifi network to gain access to your mobile devices.
The best course of action here is not only to secure the wifi network but also to hide the network so that only employees of the organization can be provided selective access to minimize the chances of data leakage.
It may seem insignificant to try and minimize wifi access when your office has hundreds of employees, but it’s worth it in the long run.
Tip #16: Secure Employee Accounts
Within the bank’s system, every employee should have their accounts, where they contain and work on tasks and clients each has been assigned. But most of the time, these employee accounts get hijacked by a malicious third party, and sensitive information falls into the wrong hands.
Creating separate logins is a great way to reduce the chances of an account hijack. When every employee is allotted a unique set of login credentials, it creates a secure environment with improved usability.
Tip #17: Keep A Disaster Recovery Plan At Hand
A security breach can happen at any time that can devastate a business. This event can be considered a disaster. A disaster can prevent your business from performing optimally or even can shut it down temporarily.
In the case of such a disaster, you must have a contingency plan in action to prevent or reduce downtime of your systems and continue your business operations normally.
A well-planned and highly detailed disaster recovery plan can reduce data loss and minimize business downtime when a cyberattack takes place. That alone makes the disaster recovery plan a must-have item.
Tip #18: Use Data Encryption
Data is the most essential asset for any company. As a result, it’s the most high-value target for hackers and other malicious entities. To keep your data safe from prying hands, it’s best to apply data encryption on all your systems.