Cyber crime within the financial sector can result in billions of dollars in losses. And if that’s not daunting enough, money hungry cyber criminals have hundreds of tactics that enable them to access corporate accounts, corporate data and corporate funds.

Amidst the pandemic, financial institutions experienced a 74% increase in cyber threats. Limited staffing and investment in cyber security contributed to security struggles. Financial sector groups can benefit from rethinking cyber security frameworks.

Current digital data protections may enable organizations to meet regulatory requirements, however, additional methodologies can also provide a high degree of utility. Although there’s no “silver bullet” when it comes to stopping threats, here are easy-to-implement security protocols that you can quickly layer in order to mitigate risk for financial institutions.

How to secure financial institutions’ accounts

  1. Multi-factor authentication (MFA). Organizations can implement multi-factor authentication protocols to help thwart threats. MFA systems function as core elements of identity and access management models.
  2. Consider dual and triple controls. In some organizations, one person creates a financial transaction, a second person approves it and a third person hits “send” to enable the transaction to go through. This allows for organizations to maintain a greater level of control over interactions.
  3. Raise fraud awareness. Provide employees with greater levels of education surrounding financial fraud. Corporate accounts can be taken over, employees’ desktops can be accessed remotely, and ransomware represents a very clear and present risk.
  4. Reconcile transactions regularly. By reconciling accounts either at the start of the day or at the close of the day, organizations can more easily spot activity that may not be legitimate. Experts state that the longer the length of time between the fraud attempt and identification of the issue, the less likely you are to be able to recover stolen funds.
  5. Transaction limits. Your banking institution may retain daily limits for card users. However, in recent years, some institutions have done away with this measure. Consider calling your banking institution and requesting for them to monitor transactions either above or below a certain dollar amount.

    How to secure financial institutions’ data

  1. Monitor security. Ensure that your organization retains tools that allow for comprehensive visibility into systems. This will allow IT admins to effectively monitor security. PCI DSS requires security solution implementation; however, organizations can always seek out higher-quality tools. Enable your IT personnel to do more.
  2. Threat detection tools. Consider a more robust set of endpoint security tools. Tracking endpoint security can be a huge hassle without the right types of security solutions. Talk to your CIO about reassessing existing tools and investing in new ones.
  3. Incident response. Your organization obviously maintains an incident response plan. But has it been updated recently? Tested in “drill mode” at different times of day, with different staff members on-hand?
  4. Zero-trust network model. While zero-trust has existed for quite some time by now, not all organizations have adopted it. Layering zero-trust policies into your security architecture can limit liabilities in the event of a network intrusion.
  5. Third-party risk management. Accurately assessing third-party cyber security and compliance measures is tough. Ensure that your organization engages in due diligence. This can reduce account takeovers, corporate data theft, vendor bankruptcy and other destructive debacles.

Money hungry hackers

Financial services firms aren’t exempt from digital transformations or the cyber security challenges that emerge alongside them. Although many perceive cyber security as a dull discipline, understanding and implementing cyber security best practices can serve as a business enabler; it can allow for greater customer satisfaction and overall business growth.

For more information about cyber security as it pertains to financial sector groups, check out this special report from Cyber Talk.