Hardening Your Attack Surface: A CEO/CTO Perspective in Banking Sector

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Futurism Technologies

July 10, 2023 - 4.2K
5 Min Read

Hardening Your Attack Surface: A CEO/CTO Perspective in Banking Sector

In an era where digital transformation has revolutionized every industry, the banking sector has been at the forefront of embracing innovation. The exponential rise of digital banking, with an estimated global value of USD 12.4 trillion by 2025, according to a report by Business Wire, has been both a boon and a bane. On one hand, it offers an array of opportunities for growth and customer satisfaction. On the other, it offers a feast of opportunities for cybercriminals and hackers to compromise a bank’s integrity, customer trust, and financial stability.

cybersecurity stats
Image Credit: The Daily Star

As the CEO/CTO of a bank, the responsibility of securing the bank’s digital assets falls heavily upon you. One of the most crucial tasks is to ‘harden the attack surface’ – minimizing the potential entry points for cybercriminals to gain access to our systems.

Read also: Leading Bank in South Asia Falls Victim to Hackers!

Identifying the Attack Surface

Before you can harden anything, you must first understand what it is you’re protecting. The attack surface of a bank is vast, encompassing every piece of digital infrastructure from databases storing sensitive customer information, to internal email systems, to mobile banking applications.

A recent study by the International Data Corporation (IDC) estimated that banks worldwide would spend approximately $2.7 billion on advanced AI-powered cybersecurity solutions. Nevertheless, according to another report by Accenture, the financial sector is the most targeted by cybercriminals, accounting for 35% of all data breaches. This disparity underscores the urgency to adopt a holistic, proactive approach to hardening our attack surface.

6 vulnerability points often ignored
Banks often neglect basic cybersecurity hygiene. Without viewing cybersecurity as a top priority and employing the right security skills, hackers will keep gaining an upper hand.

Hardening the Attack Surface

IT department

To harden your attack surface, a multi-faceted strategy must be adopted. Futurism recommends the following key steps:

Implement robust access controls: The Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP) should be adopted to ensure that employees and systems have only the access they need to fulfill their roles. This approach minimizes the risk of internal threats and limits potential damage if credentials are compromised. It is advisable to deploy an intelligent and smart Identity and Access Management Solution (IAM) with an agile multi-factor authentication and access polices powered by AI.

Adopt a Zero Trust security architecture: This model, coined by Forrester Research, operates on the premise of “never trust, always verify”. It assumes that every request, whether originating from inside or outside the network, is a potential threat and must be authenticated and verified. For instance, Microsoft successful adoption of Zero Trust Security is an excellent use-case, with the approach resulting in a 300% improvement in breach detection and response times.

Read also: Why do you need Zero Trust for your organization?

Deploy advanced AI-based threat detection tools: AI and machine learning can detect anomalies in network traffic, identify suspicious behavior, and predict possible attack vectors. Advanced threat protection or SIEM can offer a significant advantage. The deployment of Darktrace’s AI system by the Italian bank, Banca Popolare di Sondrio, exemplifies the power of this technology. They successfully thwarted sophisticated cyber threats, saving potential losses in millions of Euros.

Regular software updates and patch management: This practice seems simple but is often overlooked. According to the Ponemon Institute, 60% of breaches could be traced back to an unpatched vulnerability where a patch was available but not applied. Keeping all systems, ports, networks and devices up-to-date with best-in-class vulnerability assessment and penetration testing (VAPT) can help prevent attacks via known vulnerabilities.

Establish strong cybersecurity awareness training: Humans are often the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain. A report by Verizon found that 94% of malware was delivered via email. Therefore, regular cybersecurity awareness training for employees to recognize and respond to threats like phishing attempts is of paramount importance to thwart the next big cyberattack on your bank.

Invest in a robust incident response plan: Even with the most stringent measures, breaches can occur. When they do, swift and effective detection and incident response action plan can limit damage and downtime. Notable is Capital One’s incident response during their 2019 data breach, which allowed them to promptly identify and rectify the issue, while effectively communicating the breach to stakeholders and customers. 

Seek expert help: Cybercriminals are becoming more nimble, sophisticated and creative in an age when banks struggle to keep up with intelligent security. Thus, the million-dollar question – how can you as a CEO or CTO of your bank prevent the onset of these attacks? One of the smartest ways to do this is to seek help from a trusted and credible managed cybersecurity services provider that helps to deploy the right layers of cyber defenses for your banks and will leverage industry-leading threat intelligence tools and technology to track and stop such breaches in real-time.

Takeaway

As we sail into the uncharted waters of digital transformation, hardening the attack surface is no longer optional—it’s a strategic imperative. The banking sector’s role in safeguarding the financial assets of individuals and businesses extends beyond the physical realm into the digital domain. 

With our relentless pursuit of innovation, customer satisfaction, and growth, we at Futurism stride with an unwavering commitment to harden the attack surfaces for banks and uphold the trust of their customers, partners and vendors. It is not just about protecting against financial loss, but preserving the integrity and reputation of banking institutions in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Is your bank equipped to deal with a cyber breach? How strong is your bank’s security posture? Are you looking to strengthen your bank’s security architecture?

Schedule a consultation with our cybersecurity expert now!

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