Skip to content

Banks are the Main Target of Cyber Criminals

A number of malware attacks designed specifically against banks have been identified this year. These include: Credential stuffing is a type of cyberattack that usually targets the personal data of banking customers. With stolen account credentials, hackers can gain unauthorized access to user accounts using automated large-scale login requests. The stolen information can then be used to bombard websites and servers in order to try to gain access to critical IT infrastructure.

Cloud services come in useful by helping banks offset IT expenses, boost system uptime and ensure their data is being stored safely. But the promises of the cloud have come with a few hard-earned lessons when it comes to customer data and security. With so much information stored on the cloud, particularly for the use of public services, cloud providers have become easy targets for malicious attackers looking to gain access to financial institutions. Recently the Wall Street Journal investigated a global hacking campaign known as “Cloud Hopper” which showed the risks associated with compromised cloud data. The Cloud Hopper attack by hackers known as APT10 gained access to cloud service providers, where companies believed their data was being safely stored and protected. Once in, the hackers freely and anonymously hopped from client to client, evading investigator’s attempts to eliminate them for years. To make things worse, investigators said many major cloud companies stonewalled clients as to what was happening inside their networks. Contrary to what bank executives might think, the sole responsibility for protecting corporate data in the cloud lies with the cloud customer, not the service provider. Hence, no cloud provider is legally or contractually obligated to ensure the safety of customer data –– as much as they may promise to do so.

Phishing is a common type of cyberattack that is often used to steal user data, including login credentials and credit card numbers. But lately, there’s been an increase in phishing attacks targeting bank employees. Phishing occurs when an attacker tricks an unsuspecting victim into opening a malicious link, leading to an installation of malware which then can be used, for example, to freeze the system as part of a ransomware attack. Phishing can also be used to gain a foothold in a network as a part of a larger attack like an advanced persistent threat  (APT) attack. Employee is compromised in order to bypass security perimeters, distribute malware inside a closed environment, or gain privileged access to secured data. With access to an employee’s email account, cybercriminals can read a bank’s sensitive information, send emails on the bank’s behalf, hack into the employee’s bank accounts, and gain access to internal documents and customer financial information. This can result in millions of dollars worth of damage in both financial and reputational risks for the institution and its employees.

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts data, making it impossible for the owners of that data to access it unless they pay a hefty fee. Although ransomware has costs businesses more than $75 billion per year in damages, it still remains one of the most common forms of cyberattack. Banks remain top targets for ransomware attacks, as cybercriminals follow the money for big payoffs. According to a Kaspersky Labs report, cybersecurity statistics show attacks were launched across the globe with financial services the second most targeted industry after healthcare.

Exploitation of the Internet of Things (IoT), anything from an employee device to a router connected to an unsecured network can put an entire organization’s digital infrastructure at risk. Unsecured IoT devices, such as home routers, printers, and IP cameras are all vulnerable to attack. As institutions continue to connect more gadgetry to the internet, the number of potential security weaknesses on their networks are also more likely to increase. To breach a financial institution, attackers will target insecure devices to create a pathway to other systems. Once they have an entryway from an IoT device, they have full access to the entire network, including all customer data. Today’s hackers also can easily exploit a bank’s API system since many legacy APIs weren’t designed with the cloud in mind. This leaves many systems vulnerable – and open banking has just been making the problem worse.

Posted in

Alastair Tempest

Leave a Comment

Become a member

Join the Ecommerce Forum South Africa and benefit from industry insights in South Africa and Africa.

Sign up to newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter and stay informed of the progress we are making at the Ecommerce Forum South Africa with government during Coronavirus.