Is Your Company Cybersecure? Looking into the Key Threats Facing the Financial Services Industry Today

Cybersecurity is not a fresh topic by any means. But even though it’s not new, it’s still important. In fact, recent government reports have shown that 32% of UK businesses were hit by an attack in the previous 12-month period, rising to 59% for medium-sized businesses and 69% for large businesses. 

Cyber criminals often target the financial services industry, because they have a lot of valuable financial data that they store. This data ranges from bank details to investment portfolios, which can cause a lot of harm if they get stolen. 

Many companies recognise cyber threats and support measures to lower their risks, but the complex nature of these challenges can make this difficult. 

This article discusses the main cyber risks that affect the financial services industry right now, and how to make your business more secure and confident. 

The Current State of Cybersecurity in the Financial Services Sector 

As stated above, cyber threats often target financial services companies. These institutions work in a tightly controlled setting, with many spending a lot on cybersecurity measures, but this sector still faces persistent risk of attack from different sources. 

This sector has become more vulnerable and challenging as it digitises rapidly, with online financial transactions giving more chances for cybercriminals to attack any flaws. This adds to ransomware attacks, which can disrupt operations and cost a lot of money, as well as phishing and social engineering attacks. Any data breach can also damage the trust that customers have in their financial institution, hurting the brand name badly. 

To counter these changing threats, financial institutions are taking preventive and comprehensive steps to protect their cybersecurity. This involves using strong security features such as encryption, multi-factor authentication, intrusion detection systems and the constant tracking of network traffic. 

But as this is fine, cybercriminals also keep developing their skills and tools. This makes cybersecurity a very important topic for most institutions. 

10 Key Challenges for the Financial Services Industry 

Working with our partner, CloudGuard, we have identified the ten areas that were causing significant grief for the financial services sector. Let’s take a look. 

Skills Gap 

Cybersecurity skills are lacking in the financial services sector, where only 54% of CEOs feel ready for cyber attacks. The industry needs to boost its cybersecurity knowledge and preparedness, even with high transaction volumes and employment rates. 

API Attacks 

There has been a significant 64% rise in attacks that exploit API weaknesses. This trend shows the need for financial organisations to protect their APIs from unauthorised entry and data leaks. 

DDoS Attacks 

The financial sector continues to face frequent Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, with the UK receiving 29% of the EMEA region’s share. Despite a drop in total numbers in 2023, DDoS attacks are still a major worry, especially when they are part of complex attack methods. 

Insider Threats 

Financial organisations face the ongoing challenge of insider threats, where employees might take advantage of weaknesses or leak confidential information. It is essential to recognise and prevent insider threats in order to protect data security and trust in the sector. 

Impersonation 

Impersonation methods, like credential phishing and social engineering, are more common among cybercriminals who want to trick employees and break into financial systems. These attacks show the importance of strong authentication steps and employee education to spot and stop impersonation tries. 

Malware Strains 

Various malware strains, including some created with AI, pose an increasing danger to financial organisations. Financial institutions need to be alert and use sophisticated malware prevention and response methods to defend against these threats. 

Significant Transfers 

The financial sector handles a lot of transactions, with £26 billion in the last quarter of the previous year and £61 billion in total for 2023. This attracts cybercriminals who want to abuse weaknesses in the payment processing infrastructure. 

Ongoing Digitisation 

As financial services become more digital, they face both benefits and threats. Digital transformation improves ease and speed, but it also creates more ways and dangers for cyberattacks that organisations must deal with using strong security methods and rules. 

Protecting Sensitive Data 

Safeguarding sensitive data, such as financial transactions and customer information, should be the top priority for financial institutions. They should use encryption, access controls, and data loss prevention measures to prevent sensitive data from being accessed or revealed without permission. 

Fintech and Trading App Trojans 

Fintech and trading applications have created new cyber risks, such as trojans that attack financial deals and investments. Financial organisations need to work with fintech partners and spend money on security measures to reduce the dangers of these new threats. 

How To Improve the Cybersecurity of your Finance Company 

To know how exposed your business is to possible cyber attacks, you need to identify the weak points in your current security. A good way to achieve this is by doing a thorough security assessment. 

Codestone’s Cybersecurity Workshops provide you with invaluable insights into your cybersecurity landscape, giving you a range of prioritised actions to help you close any gaps and reduce the risks your business is open to. 

Our assessments are quick and efficient, taking only 3-4 hours, and they enhance your cybersecurity posture to protect your business from external and internal threats. 

Reach out to us now and protect your business.