IT Audits- Prominent IT Risks faced by Financial institutions
Like every business, banks and financial institutions are prone to many risks. Market changes, asset risk, reputation damage, financial organizations have a lot to worry about. However, one of the greatest threats that the finance sector faces today is the Information technology threat. Studies suggest that financial firms are more vulnerable to data breaches, malware, and other cyber threats compared to other industries and these threats could lead to several legal and financial challenges. In this article, we've discussed some of the prominent threats that adversely affect the finance sector and shared how IT Audit finance can help you enhance your cybersecurity.
Top 5 cybersecurity threats in the financial services industry
Phishing is a common cyber threat faced by financial institutions where cybercriminals trick your customers into sharing their data such as login credentials and credit card numbers. Lately, an increase has been observed in phishing attacks where employees are attacked instead of customers. Attackers trick bank employees into clicking on a malicious link that leads to installing malware that invades the businesses' private data or freezes the system.
With access to employees' email accounts, hackers can access internal documents, send emails on the bank's behalf or even hack into consumer financial information. Phishing poses millions of dollars worth of threat to financial institutions and their employees.
With a rise in digital banking, banks' network is now exposed to innumerable end users. A user whose phone or computer has been compromised by malware can put your bank's cybersecurity at risk whenever they connect with your network. If the end user's device has malware installed on it, that malware can attack your sensitive data if it is not well encrypted. Hence, regular IT Audits finance are recommended for your financial institution so that the auditors can detect risks and consult appropriate measures before it is too late!
3. Threat to intellectual property
Along with sensitive consumer information and other third-party information, finance businesses also hold intellectual property that cybercrooks can attack. Intellectual assets such as tools analyzed to predict market trends, strategies to attract potential investors, gives a competitive advantage to your organization in the market, which when stolen can lead to financial and reputation loss. Such data is often rendered vulnerable to hackers by the companies' employees unintentionally and sometimes intentionally. The best way to protect your intellectual property is to minimize potential human errors by improving internal controls.
4. Hardware Exploitation
Since banks and financial institutions often focus on software vulnerabilities, hackers have moved on to exploiting vulnerable hardware pieces. Unsecured devices such as routers, employee devices, printers cameras can put your organization's digital infrastructure at risk. Since they are not regularly scrutinized, it is easier for cybercrooks to attack these devices,which are further used as pathways to hack other devices and ultimately the entire network.
5. Risk of bots
Most financial institutions utilize bots to automate their online tasks and enhance their customer service. However, not all bots can be beneficial to your organization. Hackers can program a malicious bot in your institution network to execute a direct or indirect attack. These bots can be used to spam emails, crack passwords, obtain confidential information, etc.
6. Third-Party Threats
Even if the cyberinfrastructure of a bank or a financial company is wholly secured, they are still prone to cyber-attacks through third-party services. Third-party services are hired to help the organization in providing better services to their clients. When proper precautions are not taken, third parties' involvement can increase the risk of cyberattacks. Before collaborating with a third-party service provider, it is advisable to examine their IT framework and security measures thoroughly. Even if they abide by all the necessary security functions, you should deploy additional protection from your end to mitigate third-party threats.
This is a relatively new type of security threat faced by businesses in the financial sector. Hackers are now impersonating a banking website's URL and trying to trick customers into transacting from such malicious websites. When a user login into such sites, hackers steal their data for future use. Spoofing techniques can be used to target customers not only with incorrect URLs but also by attacking correct URLs.
As a bank financial organization, it is your primary responsibility to follow appropriate measures to mitigate cyber threats while still being able to provide your customers with technologically advanced services. For high-quality, comprehensive cybersecurity services, including IT Audit finance and cyber threat protection.