How to Protect Your Bank: Key Takeaways from 2023 Cybersecurity Incidents

meeting to train bank employees about cybersecurity risks

The banking industry, revered for safeguarding critical financial data, has faced a barrage of cyber threats recently. These incidents, while alarming, help decision-makers like you identify emerging threats and stop them in their tracks.

Let’s delve into the key takeaways from these events and explore actionable insights that banks can adopt to bolster their defenses.

Recent Cybersecurity Risk That Shocked the Banking World

Even national and global institutions aren’t immune to cyber attacks. In early November 2023, the U.S. financial services division of Chinese bank ICBC was hit with a ransomware attack. 

The breach reportedly affected the trade of U.S. Treasurys. One would think that an international bank with deep pockets would be immune to breaches, but unfortunately, this was not the case.

In the banking world as a whole, 60% of institutions that responded to a survey done by Contrast Security’s Tom Kellermann said that they’d been victims of a cyberattack in 2022. 64% said they’d seen an increase in attacks on applications, underscoring the need for more holistic security.

How to Mitigate Cybersecurity Risk: 6 Actionable Practices

After analyzing these recent incidents, here are six key practices that banks can adopt to mitigate cybersecurity risk:

1. Conducting Post-Incident Analysis

Post-incident analysis is not just a reactive measure but a proactive step towards resilience. It involves comprehensive assessments of breach impact, root cause analysis, and response evaluation. By dissecting incidents, banks can identify weaknesses and fortify defenses, ultimately enhancing cyber resilience.

Action Steps:

  • Establish Incident Response Teams: Formulate dedicated teams to conduct thorough post-incident analyses promptly.
  • Implement Continuous Improvement: Regularly refine response protocols based on post-mortem evaluations.

2. Strengthening Employee Cybersecurity Awareness

Human error remains a significant gateway for cyber attacks. Educating employees about phishing, social engineering, and best security practices is paramount. 

Action Steps:

  • Regular Training Programs: Conduct ongoing training sessions to keep employees updated on emerging threats. Most people can’t remember what they ate for breakfast last week, let alone training from a year ago. 
  • Simulated Phishing Exercises: Simulate phishing attacks to gauge and improve employee readiness.

3. Analyzing Firewall Logs and System Activity

Firewalls act as gatekeepers, but their efficacy relies on active monitoring and analysis of logs. Anomalies in firewall logs can often signify potential threats, making regular scrutiny crucial.

Action Steps:

  • Automated Log Monitoring: Employ automated tools to monitor firewall logs continuously.
  • Implement Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS): Supplement firewall analysis with IDS for comprehensive threat detection.

4. Engaging External MSP Partners

Collaborating with Managed Service Providers (MSPs) can offer specialized expertise and can reduce cybersecurity risk. The FFIEC has a helpful list of criteria to keep in mind when engaging with an MSP. 

Action Steps:

  • Due Diligence in Partner Selection: Choose MSPs with proven track records in banking cybersecurity.
  • Establish Clear Communication: Ensure seamless coordination between the bank and MSP for effective security management.

5. Implementing Multi-Layered Authentication Protocols

A robust authentication framework forms a formidable barrier against unauthorized access. Multi-layered authentication, combining factors like biometrics, tokens, and passwords, adds layers of security.

Action Steps:

  • Adopt Biometric Authentication: Integrate biometric authentication for added security layers.
  • Encourage Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Mandate 2FA across banking systems and applications.

6. Regular System Vulnerability Assessments and Regulatory Compliance

Continual assessment of system vulnerabilities is pivotal for preempting potential breaches. Additionally, adherence to regulatory standards isn’t just a legal mandate; it’s a cornerstone of robust cybersecurity.

Action Steps:

  • Scheduled Vulnerability Assessments: Conduct routine vulnerability scans and penetration testing.
  • Prioritize Regulatory Compliance: Align security measures with industry standards and regulatory frameworks.

Create a Resilient Future With RESULTS Technology

Remember, the battle against cyber threats is an ongoing one, and continuous vigilance and adaptation are key to staying ahead of an attack that could make your bank close its doors. 

With RESULTS Technology, you can ensure that your bank remains resilient against any type of cybersecurity risk. Our experts focus solely on banks and the financial sector, ensuring your institution is safe and secure.

Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive cybersecurity solutions. Let’s work together to create a secure future for your bank and its customers.