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Cybersecurity in bank increases customer confidence

cyber securityThe cyber threat, because of its widespread, uncontrolled and transnational nature, is one of the most concerning challenges for all organizations today. The most exposed countries are the Western ones, because they have sophisticated and IT-based critical infrastructures.

Looking at the annual Clusit report on ICT Security in Italy there are serious elements of concern. The increasing adoption of cloud-based services involves an outward opening of ICT systems, which traditionally tended to be kept closed or open to an ideally controlled sector ecosystem. Even the recent PSD2 legislation brings greater openness to much less controlled subjects and contexts. Therefore, this trend requires an approach that makes the principles of “security by design / by default” a pivotal point, in line with those that have always been security best practices in the industry.

According to the Clusit report, the 2016 has been characterized by an increase in direct attacks to banks rather than to their customers, with events of great impact that have come to the most critical systems, such as those linked to interbank exchanges. Accidents occurring during the 2016 show that attacks are often not technically sophisticated, but they use relatively simple attack vectors such as phishing, and take advantage of the fact that information on the internal operations of the ICT systems and processes are more widespread and easy to obtain.

The same kind type of attack has been used on UniCredit in July 2017 and October 2016: this double cyber intrusion would have interested data and IBAN codes of about 400,000 customers in the personal loans segment. Cyber criminals have entered UniCredit systems through partners outside the bank. The analysis of these attacks shows that there is a need for a strong integration between IT incident management processes and business processes, in order to effectively intercept and manage the signals that, as in this case, would have allowed to recognize and block (or mitigate) the attack more quickly.

The Clusit report also shows that the percentage of attacks whose cause is “unknown” (or which has failed to discover the mode and/or the attack vector), is in sharp increase compared to 2015, and that the banking sector is one of the sectors with the highest growth rate of breaches. The same trend can be found in the Cisco report: no sector is safe, but the financial sector is the most affected, with 19% of the attacks in 2016.

The data collected and analyzed by the Cisco Cybersecurity Research Center also show how criminals are bringing back the “classic” attack vectors, such as adware and spam emails, with the latter having levels that were not seen since 2010. Spam accounts for almost two-thirds (65%) of emails, of which 8 to 10% are malicious.

Like any risk, cyber risks cannot be eliminated and therefore need a set of coordinated actions in order to be managed. These actions involve the organisational and technological areas of the company, as well as the financial management. They also involve the definition of a residual risk management strategy, thereby enabling the adoption of an integrated approach to prevention and protection. Managing risks in the context of an integrated security (or system security) means responding to a precise and pressing demand of the market that requires the bank to adopt a complex overview.

By adopting a governance and risk management process, ROI and innovation support are achieved, beside maintaining compliance with laws and regulations over time. In the banking sector, this does not “simply” mean protecting the perimeter and IT, but building an infrastructure of cyber physical security that should be resilient as well as considering the continuity of processes and business operations. It is equally important to adopt a defence approach that puts integration and automation at the top of the list of the evaluation criteria in order to increase visibility, optimize interoperability, reduce detection time, and prevent attacks.

The activation of the virtuous circle “more security equals more quality of the offering and greater customer confidence” has a strategic relevance in the financial activity. This, in fact, bases its operations on the processing of information and on the construction of a relationship of trust with its customers.

For more information on how to improve your level of accuracy in identifying financial crime, learn more about our Fraud Risk Management solutions.

This article was posted in PSD2.

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