It should come as no surprise that the financial industry is the ideal target for lawless cyber thieves, holding a treasure trove of sensitive information and financial credentials of innocent victims.

According to a report released by Websense Security Labs, the average number of cyber-attacks made against financial institutions is 300 percent higher than that of any other industry. With the financial sector collecting and storing more personal information than any other industry, criminals target them knowing they have a higher ROI and a higher likelihood of successfully cracking into their systems.

Banks keep a massive database filled with highly sensitive customer data, and if successfully breached, criminals can obtain these sensitive records and submit fraudulent charges. While banks have begun to invest heavily in high-level security solutions, their biggest vulnerability still remains at large- their own employees.

Cyber criminals targeting the finance industry often break into systems simply by sending an email. In fact, world-renowned banks like Barclays, HSBC, and Lloyds Banking Group have reported human error is responsible for 93% of breaches.

How does it work? A cyber-criminal disguises an email to look like it’s from a trusted source, often a high-ranking employee. The email is tailored to the specific individual through sophisticated social engineering tactics, working to convince the victim that the email is from someone within the company. Once the email is opened or any attachments are opened, malware infects the systems and the attacker gains complete access to the bank's network and computer systems. Once given access, hackers have access to collect user information and provide them with access to a banks treasure trove of sensitive information.

As banks become increasingly perfect targets for fraudsters, the industry must take protecting consumer credentials very seriously and ensure that consumer information is stored safely and protected against criminals.

Here are a few tips to consider when protecting your IT estate

  1. Make sure that all incoming emails are cleansed of all known & unknown threats before entering your bank's IT environment
  2. Disarm active content from harmless looking documents to counteract any attack on your bank's network
  3. Make sure your organization's IT environment is protected with long lasting and up to date security solutions
  4. Implement security solutions that authenticate any files you receive via email against vendor specifications
  5. Maintain regular cyber security training for all employees
  6. Only grant necessary employees access to data and be aware of how it’s being used and shared
  7. Make sure to implement multiple security solutions into your IT environment- there’s not one tool that will ward off all cyber threats


While following these tips may not 100% guarantee your protection in the event of a cyber-attack, one thing will always remain true- Financially driven criminals will not rest until they get what they want- MONEY. Organizations must continue to search for better threat protection and risk mitigation solutions and in doing so will understand which malicious attackers are targeting their organization, why, and the methods they’re using for an attack. By implementing a layered approach to security, your organization will be equipped with vulnerability management with breach detection and Real-Time File Integrity Monitoring. Integration is also key to protecting your IT estate- with NNT Change Tracker Gen7 we automatically leverage threat intelligence to expose any breach activity when it happens. By implementing these solutions your organizations will be better prepared to defend against today’s savvy cyber criminals.





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