Heavy competition is forcing the rapid assimilation of new technologies in the finance and banking sector. However, where the implementation of the necessary cybersecurity measures fails to keep up, financial institutions face elevated risks – in an industry where consumer trust is paramount. Exposure to attacks through vendors, partners and customers also increases banking and finance institutions’ vulnerability to cyber attacks. Furthermore, heightened regulatory and enhanced privacy requirements may increase the incidence of extortion attacks, exploiting financial institutions’ fears that the exposure of noncompliance and data breaches will result in fines and lost business.
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, in the first portion of 2020 alone, 75% of banks and insurance groups experiencing a rise in cybercrime (Cyber Talk). The number of recorded cyber attacks directed against financial firms and financial services organizations in this period increased by 238% (Fintech News). The US Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network reported in September 2020 that more than $1 billion dollars showed up as stolen from institutions each month.
According to Accenture, the financial industry suffers the highest cost from cybercrime – an average of $18.3 per company surveyed. The average cost of a data breach in the financial services sector is $5.85 million – about 30% higher than the average in all sectors (Cyber Talk, citing a Varonis report from 2021). Moreover, a breach in financial services businesses is only detected and contained an average of 233 days after it occurred (Varonis, 2021).
A Deloitte Touche survey cited by American Banker revealed that cyber-related spending grew by 15% in 2020, translating into approximately $1 billion for each of the largest US banks.
In early 2021, a zero-day vulnerability in Accellion software led to breaches in a number of its financial sector companies, including the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and Flagstar Bank (USA).
In March 2021, CNA Financial, one of the largest insurance firms in the USA, was the victim of a ransomware attack that affected its customer and employee services for three days.
Two months later, in May 2021, AXA, the European insurance giant, was the victim of a ransomware attack, ironically, shortly after it announced in France that it would no longer cover damage from this type of attack.
The previous year, Diebold Nixdorf, which controls around 35% of the global ATM market, admitted to having incurred a ransomware attack in April, adding that it refused to pay the ransom.
At the beginning of 2020, the London-based foreign exchange company Travelex suffered a ransomware attack as well. The company operates more than 1,000 stores and 1,000 ATMs in 26 countries. The attack led to the suspension of its travel money services, and also affected several UK banks, which were forced to shut down their currency exchange services. It took the company a month to get its money transfer systems back online, and longer to make its main website accessible, after paying a ransom of $2.3 million.
Attackers aiming to access confidential transactional data, user account information and gain control over transactional systems in order to steal funds or disrupt operations favor data exfiltration, malware, phishing and DDoS attacks (Blackfog).
ACID Intelligence and DIP cost-effectively confront the increased risks faced by finance and banking institutions. Advance detection in the early stages of cyber attack planning, and continuous tracking to collect more information, are critical to foiling the attacks or mitigating their impact.
ACID Intelligence and DIP are well-equipped to detect numerous types of cyber attacks targeting the finance and banking sector while in the planning stage, including, but not limited to:
- SQL injection (SQLi)
- Local file inclusion (LFI)
- Cross-site scripting (XSS)
- OGNL Java Injection
- Credential stuffing
- Theft of BINs (Bank Identification Number), SWIFT codes
These are aimed at committing, among others:
- Financial scams
- Opening fake accounts and lines of credit
- Direct theft
- Data theft
ACID Intelligence allows financial institutions to avoid heavy financial losses and significant harm to their reputation.