Banks, financial institutions and the global economy are increasingly dependent on the critical infrastructures of the financial sector. The latter comprise a wider range of assets including both physical (e.g., data centers, bank branches, buildings, ATM machines) and cyber (e.g., servers, networks, software) elements. Any disruption to these elements can have several implications in the graceful execution of financial transactions and consequently adverse effects for consumers and businesses. Therefore, financial organizations pay special emphasis on the security of the critical infrastructures of the financial sector, including their resilience against attacks. While both physical security and cybersecurity are important, financial organizations are rapidly increasing their cybersecurity investments given the proliferating digitization of their critical infrastructures.
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Despite significant investments in cybersecurity, recent incidents demonstrate that financial organizations remain vulnerable against cyberattacks. During the last couple of years, the world witnessed the following attacks against the infrastructures of the financial sector:
Beyond these notorious incidents, recent security reports demonstrate that the finance sector suffers from security attacks more than other sectors. Specifically, in 2016 financial services customers suffered over 60% more cyberattacks than customers in any other sector, while cyberattacks against financial services firms increased by over 70% in 2017.
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These proclaimed security vulnerabilities of the financial sector are largely due to the increased digitalization of the critical infrastructures of financial organizations, which raises new challenges. The latter include:
Also Read: Cyber Security in the Era of Industrial Digitalization
Fortunately, recent advanced in security technologies provide the means for coping with these challenges. In particular:
Overall, in an era of rising security incidents in the financial sector, financial organizations are offered with novel tools in their arsenal against hackers. However, it’s their responsibility to find proper ways for deploying and fully leveraging these tools as part of their security policies. This can be a challenging task in the years to come.
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