Gone are the days when people have to go to ATMs to withdraw money to buy something. Everything is digital nowadays, people and businesses are using the internet to make most of their transactions. People can just walk into any store, swipe a credit or debit card to buy something. Online shopping has changed the whole dynamics of sales in the market. Amidst all these changes stands the financial services industry facing a huge problem in the form of cyberattacks.

Financial service firms are three hundred times more likely to witness cyber crimes compared to other industries. More than 70% of the companies in the financial sector said to have experienced threats related to security in the last year. Cybersecurity for a financial firm is one of the most important factors that contribute to its development. The very foundation of the financial industry is based on the trust of its consumers. Studies show that the financial industries are good at containing the cyberattacks after detecting them but very bad in preventing them from happening. In this kind of conditions, it is very important that every financial service firm protects the integrity of its customers to sustain their businesses.

One of the major causes of cyber attacks especially on small financial institutions is their clumsiness. The administrators of small firms sometimes believe that their site is not interesting or big enough to get attacked but this assumption is totally wrong. Securing confidential data with whatever means necessary should become the main priority of every firm in the financial sector.

How do you do it? Well here are some tips that will help you improve the cybersecurity of any financial service firm.

  1. Stop mobile phishing

Phishing is basically receiving a fake notification or message through emails, social media, and other platforms. These messages are sent by unknown sources posing to be the bank or company that issued you a credit or debit card. For example, scammers will send emails asking you to verify your account urgently providing you with a link. These links redirect to sites that resemble the original sites. Users believe that they are on the official site and provide their personal information then end up losing their money. 90% of all the data breaches happen through phishing and it is easy to phish on mobiles as they have small and flexible user interfaces.

To avoid phishing, employees can be trained to keep the scammers away but phishers are very innovative so this is not that effective. Finance companies should have a strong mobile security solution. Having an efficient security solution for mobiles significantly decreases the chances of security breaches. The burden on the employees is also lessened as they don’t have to go through every email and message.

  1. Protection against financial malware.

Malware is software that is implanted by hackers which is harmful to the system. There are different types of malware such as worms, viruses, trojan horses and spyware. All these malware are used to steal and spy on users without their knowledge. A financial malware can be implanted on a type of device whether it is a mobile, laptop or PC. 25% of all the malware attacks are on financial services firms. Most of these attacks are on credit card companies.

To avoid malware infiltration do not download files that are pirated. You can use antivirus or anti-malware tools. Even if you download files that are not pirated there is a small chance of malware entering your system, the anti-malware tools detect them. Apart from these measures, you can also be safe by using authorized banking apps that offer tight security.

  1. Use a multi-layered defense system

A multi-layered system is basically setting defense systems on multiple levels. Having a multi-layered defense system makes it tough for a scammer to breach the system. In case one layer of defense fails another layer will stop the intrusion. There are many types of security layers like web protection, encryption, firewalls, digital certificates, spam filters, email security, patch management. Each layer of defense focuses on some weaknesses that may be present in the system. When combined, these layers offer tighter security when compared to a single-layered defense system. One should always select a trusted vendor to set up your multi-layered defense system.

  1. Use Two-factor authentication

Normally there is only one authentication factor needed to log in into your account which is entering your password. Two-factor authentication provides another sheet of security to your account. Usually, you just have to type your password to log in to your account, this password can be stolen and used by others. If you enable two-factor authentication no one can access your account even if they have your password. This method of authentication sends you a message or calls you to give a special six-digit code every time you try to log in with your password. One can only access the account if they have this code. This a little time taking process but it offers incredible security. Many financial services choose Protectimus’s 2FA solution to secure their systems.

  1. Check for internal breaches

Many financial services firms think that a data breach is only an outside job but what they do not realize is that it can be an internal job too. Many times it is the employees of the firm who do these activities. There are numerous ways in which internal data breaches could happen. An employee can steal important information by using USB ports or wireless transfers to their mobiles or other devices. These internal security breaches can be prevented using third party software which turns the files into read-only files. IT administrators can detect all the attempts made to breach the security conducting an audit trail on the data collection

6.Have a strong cybersecurity policy

Security policies are a set of rules issued by an organization, that are applicable to everyone in the company. These policies define the ways in which one can protect the companies from threats and also teach them how to handle such problems when they occur.  Be clear about the security policies of your firm. Make sure that each and every employee is aware of the strict policies that one should follow. Train your employees to have the best practices in storing confidential information. A security policy increases efficiency by making the employees aware of their duties. If an internal breach occurs, this security policy determines the disciplinary action that can be taken against them. People can be held accountable for their actions which affect the firm’s reputation

  1. Always have a response plan

It is really necessary to have an incident response plan to survive a cyber-attack. This response plan is a set of instructions that help the staff of a company in detecting and recovering the lost data. This response plan is usually carried out by an incident recovery team. Every Financial services firm needs a response plan to recover from the chaos that ensues after a cyber-attack. An effective response plan can be designed by analyzing the critical components of your network. The incident recovery team should be trained well so that they are always prepared for an attack.

8.Upgrade your software

 

If you are using a software that is old, your system is more likely to encounter a cyberattack. Outdated software contains many vulnerabilities that a hacker can use to exploit your data. Always use the latest technologies to create software that is secure, robust and user-friendly. An upgraded security patch prevents the system from the latest vulnerabilities. The upgradation of software increases the speed, reliability, and stability of the existing system.

  1. Have data backups

There are many things that can go wrong when you are handling huge amounts of data that are related to finance. A security breach, virus attack, and hardware failure are some of the common problems that may come across. When this happens the result is either loss of data or corrupted data which are not good if you want a secured system. In such cases, a firm needs back up data that is kept off-site. A data back up ensures the safe recovery of data if a disaster occurs. Moreover, data backup is easy to set up. It reduces the workload and improves productivity.

Conclusion

Consumers are aware of the loss they can suffer due to the loss of data. So companies should become more efficient while being transparent in handling cyber attacks. No financial services firm can afford to lose their customer’s trust as it directly affects their revenue. In 2019, the financial services sector has suffered a loss of  $6.2 billion dollars due to cyber attacks. Therefore, it is essential for financial services firms to have the latest well-built cybersecurity systems in order to tackle the cyber-attacks and maintain the integrity of their consumers.