The financial services sector has had to endure some extremely troubling phases in the past few months. Not only did they have to combat the distressing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic by accommodating and tweaking their entire operations under safety regulations. But they also had to deal with the increasing attack surface for malicious cyber-threat actors, resulting from the massive migration of work to online spaces.
The arising plethora of upcoming challenges and attack vectors looking to capitalize on any vulnerability they can find makes for a disturbingly uncertain future. Security teams of the financial services sector aim to outrun this wave of uncertainty by implementing the best possible strategies to face the challenges posed by cyber warfare.
The 4 Big Devils
The 2020 Accenture report lists down some possible critical scenarios that financial services are likely to face. As far as the companies are concerned, the devil you know better than the devil you don’t. Here are 4 of those leading cyber threats faced by financial services, based on the Accenture team of cyber threat intelligence research.
1. Identity Theft
Credential theft has spread around the globe almost as effectively as the novel coronavirus. Since the larger part of the workforce has shifted to remote offices, black-hat cybercriminals’ attack surface has grown exponentially. Credential stealing is the backbone of mass fraud in financial services, with credential-stealing malware, such as Cerberus and EventBot19, being increasingly prevalent in 2020, the threat has never been greater.
Market manipulation, with the help of misinformation and disinformation, has severely affected the financial sector. Often aimed to influence investors into assisting cybercriminals in their objectives, misinformation spreads like wildfire online and can lead to dangerous cyber intrusions. Organizations such as NASDAQ and FINRA have also issued warnings of online market manipulation following the pandemic, an example of inflating stock prices via fake positive statements (‘pumping’ and ‘dumping’).
3. Data Breaches
Data is a prized treasure and a treasured commodity that malicious hackers are always on the lookout for. The more sensitive the information is, the more its worth is, and the more willing criminals are to access it. Data breaches do not just stop at stealing the data but extend to manipulating that data, corrupting it, destroying it, or encrypting it (ransomware). With attack vectors getting increasingly versatile and persistent, security teams are scrambling to remediate as many system vulnerabilities as they can.
4. Emerging Technology
With several modern technological advancements, the attack base for cybercrime is bound to keep up the pace. Now that emerging technologies such as fifth-generation cellular networks (5G) and deep-fakes are getting developed, their vulnerabilities are being discovered and likely to be used by threat-actors in pursuing their malicious intent. White-hat hackers and cybersecurity professionals also enter the new avenues for cyber warfare as they similarly aim to utilize the cutting edge technology and fortify it.