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How to Elevate Cybersecurity for Financial Services Companies

The technology landscape is changing rapidly, presenting new challenges for security in the financial services sector. Generative artificial intelligence, automation, data management, and integrated finance are just some of the trends that are transforming this landscape. As the demand for personalized experiences grows, the challenges of ensuring data security and privacy are increasing, among other things, making it harder to manage digital identities. In parallel, data growth and Cloud adoption are expanding the attack surface, which means better vulnerability management and incident response are required.

In this scenario, financial institutions face a range of increasingly sophisticated and damaging cyberthreats.

Top 5 threats in the financial sector

Over the past twenty years, approximately 20% of reported cyber incidents have impacted the global financial sector, resulting in direct losses of $12 billion for financial services companies, according to the IMF Global Financial Stability Report. Since 2020, these direct losses have amounted to around $2.5 billion, which highlights the increasingly complicated situation this sector faces.

To protect themselves effectively, financial institutions need to be aware of the main threats to their industry. According to Verizon 2024 Data Breach Investigations report, the top cyberthreats the financial sector faces are: 

  • 1. System intrusions: 

    System intrusions have become the main threat to financial institutions, displacing other attack patterns. This shift indicates a transition towards more sophisticated attacks. The rise in intrusions suggests that cybercriminals are resorting to advanced tactics to breach the security of these financial services companies.

  • 2. Social engineering: 

    The use of this tactic shows that cybercriminals are investing more effort in compromising internal users and exploiting the human factor, which remains a key weakness in most organizations.

  • 3. Miscellaneous errors: 

    Miscellaneous errors, such as misdelivery of information, insecure system configurations, and data loss, continue to represent a serious security problem for this sector. These incidents are often caused by human oversight or human failure, rather than targeted attacks.

  • 4. Use of stolen credentials and ransomware: 

    The use of stolen credentials and ransomware attacks are closely related to the pattern of system intrusion. Credential theft allows cybercriminals to move laterally and escalate privileges. Once inside systems, criminals often deploy ransomware causing major operational disruptions and significant financial losses.

  • 5. Supply chain vulnerabilities: 

    The report mentions that 8% of the cases were linked to the MOVEit incident, demonstrating how far-reaching these breaches can be.

Given the growing sophistication of cyber threats, financial services companies must adopt a comprehensive approach to security. An ideal solution is to implement a unified platform for security, which integrates various different tools into a single environment to simplify management and gain a complete overview of the IT ecosystem. 

Automation is key to agile incident detection and response. Streamlining security tasks minimizes the risk of data breaches and theft of sensitive information. In addition, advanced AI can be deployed to identify sophisticated threats and malware at the endpoint, proactively protecting financial institutions’ critical assets against new tactics developed by cybercriminals.

Moreover, such solutions also strengthen credential security through MFA, which is a critical line of defense today, preventing unauthorized access to sensitive systems and data.

If you would like to learn more about how financial service companies can protect themselves against potential attacks, check out the following links: 

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