How Financial Institutions Can Ensure Cybersecurity

Bank robberies are arguably the oldest crimes in the world. Things have changed from blazing guns to the thieves quietly sitting behind computer screens, using sophisticated software to clean out bank accounts.

In a sense, bank robberies with guns were easier to prevent, and all that was needed then was physical security. However, with cybercrime, it is much harder to mitigate the risks as you are fighting an unseen enemy.

Financial institution cybersecurity
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How can financial institutions stay protected?

Financial institutions can take several steps toward the prevention of cybercrime by preventing the loss of client data, funds, and company reputation.

Employee Education

Educating employees on the types of cyber risks is one way of spotting scams before they happen. Employees should be trained not to click on any attachments from unknown or untrusted sources to avoid phishing attacks, where emails containing malware are sent to employees of financial institutions. The emails usually link to a fake website where the employee is asked to input login details and passwords. Once the hackers obtain the information, they use it to infiltrate the system.

Employees should never divulge confidential data about the bank to anyone. For those working in call centers, they must be trained to verify a customer or vendor details who request changes to their billing account.

Use a VPN

Apart from education, downloading a reliable VPN is also an effective method. A VPN creates a secure tunnel between the financial institution’s network and the internet. Data encryption ensures sensitive client data is protected from hacks and data breaches.

Regularly Update Machines

The IT department needs to ensure that each internet-enabled device and workstation used within the organization has a firewall to block any communication attempt from unauthorized sources.

It should ensure that the operating systems on all computers receive regular security updates. All computers should be installed with anti-spyware and anti-virus software that detects any malicious programs or malware on the network. The wireless networks within the organization should be secure.

Employ Advanced Authentication Methods

An advanced authentication level is required for securing transactions in a financial institution. Setting complex passwords and usernames does not help much since hackers have a way of finding novel ways to crack passwords.

A bank should use advanced methods that detect crimes using the detected patterns in transactions and website navigation. These include PINs, fingerprint sensors, facial recognition, and smart cards. Today, more people use mobile devices for banking, and banks should use verification techniques such as device authentication and transaction verification.

Increase Customer Awareness

It is crucial to warn them of any suspicious activity in their accounts. All banks should send automatic messages and alerts to customers to confirm any transaction.

Provide customers with basic guidelines that will help them to confirm the authenticity of any transaction that demands account details. Customers also need to be advised on the use of caution when using the banks’ websites.

A financial institution’s cybersecurity is a continuous process. There is no single technology in isolation that can protect a bank’s IT system. Financial institutions need to use a combination of various techniques to strengthen their IT infrastructure, authentication, and fraud detection.

The systems need to be monitored to identify any security gaps. Risk management plans have to be updated regularly by identifying novel risks and performing risk assessments. Update software and upgrade hardware as well. Vigilance is the only way to keep systems safe.