Today’s Cyber Security Threats to the Financial Sector

Today’s Cyber Security Threats to the Financial Sector

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Cyber security threats to the financial sector are on the rise with each wave of communications and infrastructure technology. This is particularly important in states such as Arkansas, which have limited ability to support the private sector or prosecute offenders.

Why the Financial Sector is Targeted

The financial sector has been at risk for cyber security attacks since the inception of the Internet.

This risk has increased in the past several years due to rapid changes in computer hacking technology. Bot attacks rose significantly in 2015, resulting in a 40% increase in attacks during 2015– and a record 45 million attacks in the last 3 months of 2015. Bot attacks were previously developed by individual hackers, though today they often originate from widely connected, automated systems that are harder to track and shut down.


In a worst-case scenario, a bot attack could shut down a large bank for several days. Modern attackers can do this by bypassing security and mimicking the behavior of legitimate customers.

The Response to Cyber-Attacks

The Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) is leading the way against the threat of cyber-attacks with the “Sheltered Harbor” program. Sheltered Harbor is an industry-wide effort that will improve the security of the entire financial sector when one of their partner financial institutions are attacked.

Sheltered Harbor creates data vaults where encrypted customer data can be restored after an incident, which halts the customer facing services of a financial institution. Banks will collaborate with each other to provide operational support and increase customer security.

Top Threats to Financial Institutions

Financial institutions are advised to avoid these common mistakes that create opportunities for prepared hackers:

  • Unencrypted Data

The majority of data breaches in 2015 were caused by improper encryption, making stolen data immediately accessible after being stolen.

  • New Technology Without Security

CCTV cameras, connected cars, medical devices, and toys can all be turned into bots if they are unprotected. It is important to remember that more than just your computer hard drive data can be compromised and used against you.

  • Third Party Services

The Internet is a natural connector, though unprotected third party services can open the door for cyber attackers to acquire more data. Cybersecurity should be a priority when you connect services, rather than an afterthought.

  • Being Unprepared for New Forms of Hacking

Hackers do not only delete consumer data, they change or hold it hostage for later use. Deleting data is not the only way that a hacker can compromise a financial service.

  • Unsecured Mobile banking

As mobile banking becomes more popular, less complicated security systems on mobile devices present opportunities for expert hackers. Encryption must extend into the mobile space for banks and customers to remain safe.

Courtesy: Businessworld