Cybersecurity in the Financial Sector: Email Threats

Cyberattacks have come to plague our society as they have become increasingly sophisticated and more prevalent over the past several years. While all industries have faced a heightened risk of cyberattack recently, the financial sector has been the hardest hit. Between 2013 and 2015, data breaches in financial companies have more than doubled. High profile banks like Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC, and RBS have reported breaches in their digital systems. Financial companies are targeted not only for obvious monetary reasons, but also for the large amounts of personal customer information they store. A simple email can provide hackers with the access they need to infiltrate your security system. Consequently, it is incredibly important that banks and other financial companies maintain an awareness of cyber threats and take proactive approaches towards eliminating them.

How an email can breach your bank’s cybersecurity system:

One of the most powerful weapons that hackers use against financial companies is email. Despite many banks pouring millions of dollars into high-grade cybersecurity systems, a simple email can derail the system’s safeguards. This is because email goes through employees—who are some of the greatest vulnerabilities to financial security systems. In fact, human error is said to be responsible for 93 percent of data breach cases in the financial sector. Hackers target specific individuals and disguise emails to look like messages from a trusted source (a high-ranking employee for example). Oftentimes, the email will even be customized to the employee, mentioning businesses or people that they know. When an employee clicks on the email and opens an attachment, a wave of malware exploits system vulnerabilities and gives hackers access to bank computers. Once hackers have this access, they can extend the malware and collect sensitive—and unauthorized—bank information.

What you can do to combat email cyberattacks:

  •      Train Employees: You may be surprised how many financial employees are unaware of proper procedures to combat data breaches. Cybersecurity training should happen regularly, and proper security practices should become a part of your bank’s culture.
  •      Limit access: It is important to grant data access only to the individuals who genuinely need it. As the human aspects of cybersecurity are the most difficult to control, it is best to minimize their influence.
  •      Sanitize all incoming emails: Your financial company should have a means of cleansing company emails of any potential threats. Using a managed email service is a good way to ensure your company email is safe, secure, and reliable.

As cyber threats continue to rise, you must stay vigilant and be aware of the ways that your digital information can be breached. If your cybersecurity is not up to par or you have experienced a data breach, call Integracon at 1-865-330-2323 to secure your digital systems.