Cyber Security Vulnerabilities Found within the Financial Sector

Over the past two years, businesses all over the world have had to make serious adjustments to the way they operate, and the financial sector is no exception. The new remote working environment has enabled new security risks and vulnerabilities to emerge, and in 2021, it was reported that there was a 300% increase in cyber attacks on financial practices of all sizes.

The financial services industry is a highly targeted sector year after year. In fact, the financial sector was the second top industry for the average total cost of a data breach in 2021, totalling £4.73m! – IBM’s X-Force Threat Intelligence Index

The most valuable asset held by the financial sector is the mass amounts of personal data – making this sector a prime for cyber criminals. From all the data that was compromised in 2021, 83% of this was classified as sensitive, personal data. In our ever-evolving digital world, it is imperative for the financial sector to stay ahead of the curve and implement a security strategy that protects their devices, data, and people.

The Key Threats & Vulnerabilities

The Lack of Resources & In-House Talent

A common issue that leaves businesses vulnerable to cyber attacks and data breaches is the lack of resources and in-house expertise. Many SME businesses – including those within the financial sector – have small budgets allocated to expertise, technologies, and software which don’t effectively cover their security needs. With the financial sector being one of the most targeted industries year after year, it is imperative to make this a priority and ensure you have a solid cyber security defence strategy implemented that protects your devices and data.

The Adjustments to Remote Working

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses and their employees have adopted a remote-working lifestyle – two years later, many have continued to opt for this new way of working. Even though there are many benefits to working from home, it can also bring additional cyber security vulnerabilities. From a rise in phishing attacks, the use of insecure personal devices for work purposes (including personal Wi-Fi networks), poor password management, and working-at-home distractions, businesses and individuals have been targeted with various attack attempts to exploit these new working conditions.

Failure to Build a Resilient Human Firewall

Cyber security awareness training is an affordable and effective method to ensure your workforce is equipped with protecting your devices and data. In fact, upon implementing regular, effective cyber awareness training, organisations can see a 70% reduction in socially-engineered cyber attacks.

However, many businesses are failing to include cyber awareness training as part of their staff development and security strategy. In a recent report, 45% of employees receive no cyber security training from their employer – as 80% of cyber breaches are triggered by employee error, it is fundamental that your organisation’s cyber health is protected by a resilient human firewall.

Vulnerabilities in Apps, Websites, & Technologies

There are over 10,000 high-severity vulnerabilities found in UK businesses each year – gaps in technology security can leave your business at risk of a data breach as cyber criminals are well equipped with identifying and exploiting these weaknesses.

In a study of 33 websites and services in 2018, researchers found that banking and financial organisations were the most vulnerable to a cyber attack. Not only could an attack on your website or apps cause business disruption and potential company downtime, but there is a serious risk in loss of market confidence if a breach was to occur.

The Risk of Incompliance Fines

Not only could a cyber attack and data breach negatively impact your business, but the risk of fines due to incompliance with regulations such as the UK GDPR 2021 and DPA 2018 could also be just as, if not more, damaging.

Due to the nature of data processed by banking and financial organisations, this sector is held to a high standard of data processing and handling. Without the appropriate defences in place, not only could your business be victim of an attack, but you could also face large fines of up to £20m or 4% of the global turnover is incompliance is discovered.

It is crucial to ensure your business has the correct defences, training, and processes in place to mitigate your risk of a data breach or cyber attack in our ever-evolving digital world. For more information on how we can help your business remain secure, or to book your free demo, speak to a member of the Mitigate Cyber team today!

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