In the high-stakes world of finance, cybersecurity is the armor that stands between order and chaos. The finance industry is besieged daily by threats that evolve with alarming speed and cunning, ranging from stealthy phishing campaigns to complex ransomware attacks. The repercussions of a breach are not merely about financial loss; they shake investor confidence, disrupt markets, and can erode the trust that underpins our entire financial system. Even leading to the closing of some financial organizations.
In this article, we will explore the risk that financial organizations face, and the risk management practices they can employ to protect themselves. Our goal is to empower every institution, regardless of size or scope, with the knowledge and tools to improve its security posture.
Vulnerabilities That Financial Organizations Face
Point of Sale (PoS) Systems and ATMs:
Transactions at PoS terminals and ATMs are an attractive target for attackers looking to steal payment card data. Skimming, shimming, and similar tactics remain prevalent despite advances in card security technologies like EMV chips.
Financial institutions often rely on a plethora of third-party services, from cloud providers to customer relationship management systems. Each vendor can introduce potential vulnerabilities, and attackers frequently exploit weaker links in the supply chain to access protected systems. Luckily, TrollEye Security has a solution for this problem, by using our Dark Web Analysis services, your organization can vet third-party vendors to stay safe from these types of attacks.
Mobile and Online Banking:
As banking moves increasingly online, so do criminals. Mobile and web platforms are prime targets for credential stuffing, account takeover, and phishing attacks, exploiting both system weaknesses and user behavior.
Insiders pose a substantial risk, whether through malice or negligence. Employees with access to sensitive systems and data can inadvertently or intentionally become vectors for cyber threats.
Financial institutions often operate on outdated systems that can be rife with unpatched vulnerabilities. The integration of modern technologies with these legacy systems without proper security layers can create gaps in an organization’s defense.
Data Centers and Cloud Storage:
Massive amounts of sensitive data are stored in data centers and increasingly in the cloud. While cloud services often offer robust security measures, misconfigurations and poor management practices can lead to data exposure or breaches.
Real-Time Transaction Processing:
The financial industry’s shift towards real-time transaction processing, while beneficial for customer service, reduces the window for detecting and responding to fraudulent transactions.
Compliance with a wide range of regulations can lead to a checkbox mentality, where the bare minimum is done to meet legal requirements, potentially leaving other areas less protected. If you want to go beyond the checkbox mentality, then make sure to check out our comprehensive Cyber Risk Management Services today.
The network that facilitates international financial communication is also a target. A single vulnerability can have a domino effect, leading to significant financial loss and disruption in the global financial system.
Machine Learning and AI Systems:
Financial institutions are increasingly deploying AI for various purposes, including fraud detection. However, these systems can be susceptible to manipulation and may inadvertently learn to perpetuate biases or generate false negatives.
By understanding and addressing these vulnerabilities, cybersecurity professionals in the financial industry can develop a more robust security posture. Each susceptible area requires a tailored approach, leveraging both technological solutions and human vigilance to mitigate risks effectively.
Certainly, the financial sector has witnessed several sophisticated cyberattacks that exploited vulnerabilities like those previously discussed. Here are three major real-world examples:
Vulnerability Exploited: Swift Network
Hackers used malware to infiltrate the Bangladesh Central Bank’s system and issued fraudulent money transfer requests via the SWIFT network. They managed to illegally transfer $81 million from the bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to accounts in the Philippines. The attackers exploited systemic vulnerabilities in the bank’s SWIFT terminal, which is part of the global messaging network used for international money transfers.
Vulnerability Exploited: Cloud Storage Misconfiguration
Capital One experienced a massive data breach when a former Amazon Web Services (AWS) employee exploited a misconfigured web application firewall to access the bank’s credit card application data stored on AWS. This breach exposed personal information from over 100 million Americans and 6 million Canadians, including names, addresses, credit scores, email addresses, dates of birth, and self-reported income.
Vulnerability Exploited: Legacy Systems and Third-Party Vendors
JPMorgan Chase, one of the largest financial institutions in the United States, fell victim to a cyberattack that compromised the data of over 76 million households and 7 million small businesses. The attack was facilitated through the exploitation of an outdated server that did not have the dual-factor authentication layer. Additionally, it was speculated that the hackers gained a foothold in the bank’s network by first compromising a third-party website frequented by bank employees.
These incidents underscore the critical need for comprehensive security strategies that encompass not just the direct IT infrastructure of financial institutions but also their interactions with third-party vendors, employees, and the evolving technologies they adopt.
TrollEye Security, with its suite of specialized cybersecurity services, is well-positioned to bolster the defense mechanisms of financial institutions against the increasing threat of cyberattacks. Here’s how each of their major services can be instrumental:
1. Penetration Testing as a Service (PTaaS):
PTaaS offers ongoing (weekly) testing and vulnerability assessments, rather than the traditional one-off penetration tests. This continuous approach to testing helps financial institutions stay ahead of emerging threats by regularly identifying and remedying vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit them. By simulating real-world attacks, PTaaS can help reveal weaknesses in networks, applications, and other systems. Additionally, this service can aid in meeting compliance requirements for rigorous security testing and ensure that security measures are both effective and up to date.
2. Dark Web Analysis:
Our Dark Web Analysis services allow your organization to identify stolen and compromised credentials on the dark web, we then take these results and test them to see which are actionable, so you can remediate the ones that are. On top of this you also will be able to vet third-party vendors and monitor your executives to make sure they aren’t compromised.
3. DevSecOps Integration:
The integration of security into the development lifecycle (DevSecOps) ensures that security is a priority from the first line of code. For financial institutions developing their own applications, this means that security and compliance are baked into the product, not just added as an afterthought. TrollEye’s DevSecOps service can streamline the process of implementing security controls into the CI/CD pipeline, reducing the time to market for secure financial software and applications, and ensuring that security is an integral part of the development process.
4. Managed Security Information and Event Management (SIEM):
At TrollEye Security we have expanded our product, Command Center, to include both Attack Surface Management and Managed SIEM capabilities, with it, we are able to perform Purple Teaming Engagements on your organization. This revolutionizes the way organizations protect their digital assets by seamlessly integrating the proactive mindset of Purple Teaming with the robust capabilities of Managed SIEM. Making our Managed SIEM solution not just a reactive measure, but one that is used in an extremely proactive manner.
Utilizing these services, financial institutions can significantly enhance their cybersecurity posture. TrollEye Security’s offerings align with the needs of the financial sector to manage complex security infrastructures, adhere to strict compliance mandates, protect customer information, and ensure the integrity and availability of financial services in an increasingly hostile digital landscape.