The banking industry is an excellentexample of an industry that is constantly improving and implementing new technologies. Everyone is aware of this industry’s changes, because they have directly impacted your personal experience. Just think about how you – as a bank customer – have been pushed by changes like less use of cash, and more digital services in your everyday life. Nowadays, for sure you don’t need to physically visit a bank branch as frequently as you visit its digital branch on your mobile (banking application).
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic benefited banks’ actions to push more customers toward their digital services. It is fine! If technology is already developed and it can mean more agile services and no more waiting lines at a traditional branch bank, why not use it? The big question is, what about security?
It hurts to hear it, but the cyber world is not a safe zone. It is full of criminals permanently looking for vulnerabilities. They use even the most minor opportunity to attack either cyber security banking defenses or its customers directly. Criminals also love technological advances and efficiently use them for their malicious purposes. Cyber security banking experts and plenty of customers globally deal with these top 5 online security banking threats that we will review now every day! Let’s explore them.
1. DDoS attacks
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are some of the top online security banking threats. Banks invest a lot in security to prevent or mitigate these massive threats; there are multiple techniques to execute such dangerous attacks, and you can go deeper into this scary topic here.
DDoS attacks want to overwhelm banks’ servers and make them unavailable for users. This disrupts online banking services and prevents access for customers – including bg businesses – to their accounts. Cyber security banking experts must work fast because sometimes, these attacks are to distract them from another attack. Criminals can execute a data breach to get their malicious hands on very sensitive bank and customer data.
The banking industry is consistently targeted by cyber criminals. Efficient and modern cyber security banking infrastructure to prevent or fight back these threats is a must! Banking is a highly lucrative industry. Criminals can attack the core IT banking systems, the wider payment ecosystem, and of course, customer accounts and data.
By the wider payment ecosystem, we mean the interconnected system of electronic equipment, banking, and non-banking financial corporations that make transfer alternatives between sellers and purchasers possible. Can you see the scope? The domino effect could be disastrous!
The next time access to your bank website or application is denied, now you know, either the bank is implementing maintenance actions, or it is under a cyber-attack.
2. Ransomware attacks
Cyber criminals just need to find a backdoor (vulnerability) or trick a bank employee (through a malicious email) to download malware designed to block access to computer systems or data by encrypting them. Then, attackers demand a ransom and threaten to publicly post the bank’s and its customers’ sensitive data unless the ransom conditions are met. Read more about ransomware attacks here.
For cyber criminals, banks mean lots of money and many different avenues to profit and attack. Fraud, theft, extortion, etc. directed to bank managers, partners, or their customers (enterprises’ owners, entrepreneurs, politicians, or even you!). Cyber security banking analysts consider that the rapid digitization implemented by banks globally has represented a double edged sword. The use of modern technology to access and automate these services has also made these institutions attractive targets and with the number of threats increasing.. Modern technology is awesome, but you know, the higher we climb, the stronger a fall could be!
Banks and financial institutions are required to have solid and advanced IT infrastructure and security measures. But still, there are risks, external and internal. It is enough that one of their employees violates the security practices or policies (deliberately or not) to jeopardize the whole bank network, customers’ assets, and data.
3. Phishing attacks
Phishing attacks are about fraudsters tricking people, frequently via email and social media, to share their sensitive information (financial information, login credentials, etc.). Cyber security banking experts warn that criminals try to trick bank employees to gain access to sensitive bank systems. If the employees fall into the trap, the internal bank network and security can be seriously compromised.
But customers are a frequent target too. Cyber criminals pretend they communicate (via email, messaging platforms, and social media) on behalf of your bank. The message pushes you urgently to update your data and credentials, so your account doesn’t get canceled. You get nervous and click the attached link (a malicious one). You arrive at a forged website with a form to fill out. If you type all the required data (full name, banking user and password, bank card details, etc.), you will be sending them to the criminals.
Go to your spam folder on your email account. You will, for sure, have many phishing attempts (malicious emails) coming in from criminals in different places around the globe. For them, this is a cheap and easy to send all these messages, billions per day, and then, they just wait for the victims to bite the bait. With just a few victims doing the wrong thing, they can get a lot of money.
Be suspicious (or cautious) and scrutinize emails before opening them. Read well and do not click on attached links without checking them. You could be downloading malware or getting directed to a malicious website. There are different ways to avoid phishing attacks.
4. Man-in-the-middle attacks
These attacks aim to intercept the communication between a specific server or website and a user. This way, criminals steal very sensitive information from bank customers while they access the bank’s website or application (credentials, financial balances, etc.). Having such information, the damage to your finances can be catastrophic.
Spoofing, eavesdropping, or hijacking are common techniques used in man-in-the-middle attacks. To prevent these attacks, a solid and advanced cyber security banking infrastructure is essential. And, safe practices on the users’ side. You must learn how to protect your assets. Care about your mobile’s security; mobiles are very vulnerable to security threats, especially if you connect to public (unsecured) Wi-Fi networks, download malicious applications, or click on malicious links attached to emails, messages of messaging platforms, or social media.
5. Social engineering attacks
This is another top online security banking threat that is being boosted to very dangerous levels right now. Shortly said, social engineering attacks trick people into sharing sensitive information or taking actions that compromise their security. Technology and psychological manipulation combined to get targets’ trust and successfully execute the attack.
It is not a new fraud, but criminals are getting more sophisticated through the use of new technologies. This increases the risks for banks and their employees, and bank customers to be tricked by cybercrime. Just consider that currently, text, pictures, sound, video, and art can be produced through AI tools. Does Deepfake AI sound familiar to you? Deepfake is a result of using AI to generate convincing but fake media through the manipulation of legitimate images, sounds, videos, or text.
Well, creating Deepfake audio or video is not hard nowadays. AI technology exists, and pretty much everybody can access it. With only real references (audio or video) and a constant learning process, every time more convincing Deepfakes can be created. This means criminals have efficient ways to impersonate people for fraudulent purposes. It is not fiction, not an exaggeration, multiple attempts have been reported globally. Politicians, actors, venture executives, and regular people have been already targeted.
Criminals use Deepfake audio to convince family, colleagues, or friends of people to transfer their money using different excuses. The audio sounds like you, so it is very convincing! If you receive audio from your boss asking to transfer money, almost for sure you will follow the instructions. The thing is that in this current dangerous environment, we will have to enable multiple checks before believing your parents, boss, or your partner’s voice or photo (video).
The statistics and real cases of companies and individuals who have been victims of cybercrime give the authority to say it loud and clear, the virtual world is not a safe place! The top online security banking threats are not to be ignored!
Banks are pushing us (customers) toward a very unsafe zone. We must take security matters seriously and understand them and incorporate safe practices into our routine. Every time a bank pushes you to install an application to access its digital services, you are taking part in a modern game that demands huge responsibility.
The bank is obliged to keep your assets safe and that involves many battles against criminal attempts. It must play its part and invest in top-notch technology to keep its reputation, customers’ trust, and security. But we also have a role here. Learn how to recognize criminal attacks, don’t give sensitive info through the phone, update your software, etc.
These top 5 online security banking threats are very challenging. Cyber security banking effectiveness must concern you too! Security in the cyber world has become a shared responsibility. There is too much at stake to remain passive. Being aware of the threats to understand your role in preventing them is an essential step. You can go further by sharing this information with your family and friends. Let’s make it harder for criminals to harm us!