How financial institutions can adapt to the shifting world of cyber security

  • Protecting data in finance companies is getting more difficult as cyberattacks become more sophisticated

  • Every new digital system offered, from online banking to mortgage applications, gives a new attack route for fraudsters

  • A security partner like Vodafone Business Security Enhanced gives finance organisations a more informed and up-to-date view of evolving threats and new cyber-attack tactics

In finance, there’s a lot at risk when fraudsters attack.

Finance leaders have always been acutely aware of the importance of security, but protecting operational, personal, and financial data is increasingly challenging, especially as cyberattacks become more sophisticated and carefully orchestrated.

As institutions use and interact with a growing number of digital systems and services, this is creating a bigger, more exposed attack surface for fraudsters, with new routes that are harder to control. Even something as simple as an employee accidentally giving out their password can put data, money, and business operations at risk.

Addressing these risks requires an infrastructure that’s secure by design, with multiple layers of intelligence and defence in place to identify and protect against evolving fraud tactics.

Complex systems are tricky to defend

Every new system that financial institutions launch creates a new attack route. As they offer more digital services and products, from simple online banking to self-service mortgage applications, they introduce more technologies to their infrastructure.

The more technology involved, the more complex the attack surface is to understand and defend, especially when institutions work with third party service providers that have their own security controls.

Regulators are watching institutions closely

Cyberattacks are now considered the number one risk to the UK finance industry’s stability, according to the Bank of England’s 2023 Systemic Risk Survey. It’s easy to understand why, because in 2023, fraudulent activities claimed around £2,300 every minute, amounting to £1.2 billion across the year.

In response, regulators are putting increased pressure on institutions to protect consumers’ data and money, which can result in significant fines and sanctions. Beyond the legal ramifications, a data breach can seriously damage the public’s trust in an institution.

What’s missing from financial institutions’ security?

This is a multi-layered challenge.

In large institutions with vast infrastructures, it can be hard to identify gaps and ensure vendors maintain their own security controls. For smaller businesses, budget limitations can cut them off from the latest technologies or dedicated security expertise.

Fraud tactics are becoming increasingly complex, as criminals carry out reconnaissance to learn about an institution’s systems and find an access point.

Access though is often deceptively simple. Recent research from Verizon showed that nearly half of data breaches used stolen credentials, which criminals extract from employees using social engineering techniques.

Security strategies need to account for everything from the most sophisticated cyberattack to a straightforward case of poor data hygiene.

There’s so much to consider, and even more at stake.

“No matter the security measures and protocols a business has in place, humans are often the weak link. If someone is tricked into sharing information about these systems or even bypassing those controls, attackers can slip through the cracks.”

Security is integral to a solid business strategy

An expert partner can make the difference

To fight back against this rising tide of cyberattacks and fraud, finance leaders need a mindset shift.

Security shouldn’t only be viewed as a bolt-on to protect front-end services. Business solutions throughout the organisation should be secure by design.

When strong security controls are seen as a way to protect core business stability and revenue, it’s much easier to see the value a dedicated partner can bring to the organisation.

“By the time an attack takes place, it’s too late. Organisations can be often distracted by other priorities, so a partner like Vodafone can look at behaviour analytics and trends to understand patterns that might expose attacks.”

A security-driven framework to support your business

A partner like Vodafone Business Security Enhanced, gives an industry-wide perspective for organisations. This means a more informed and up-to-date view of trends, evolving threats, new cyber-attack tactics, as well as the best ways to maintain compliance.

Our approach to security centres around the NIST Cybersecurity Framework: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. These principles are core to building a holistic security function for an organisation, helping to establish a layered defence that combines threat intelligence with proactive protection and risk mitigation.

This enables organisations to take advantage of our technologies, scale, and expertise to understand and defend their attack surface, whatever cybercriminals throw at them.

Learn more about how we help financial services leaders combat cyber-attacks with our cyber security solutions.

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