Cyber security is a critical issue for the financial sector, as it faces constant, increasing threats from hackers, cyber criminals, and nation-state actors. The financial sector holds a vast amount of sensitive and valuable data, such as customer information, transaction records, and market intelligence, that can be exploited for financial gain, espionage, or sabotage. A cyber attack on a financial institution can have severe consequences, such as data breaches, reputational damage, regulatory fines, operational disruption, and loss of customer trust.
According to a recent report by RPC, a law firm, UK financial services firms reported a more than a threefold increase in the number of cyber security breaches to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) in 2023 compared to the previous year. The pensions sector saw the biggest rise in cyber security breaches, from six in 2021/22 to 246 in 2022/23. The report also noted that hackers like to target pension schemes as they hold a huge amount of valuable, sensitive and financial data1.
The financial sector is also facing new and emerging cyber threats, such as ransomware attacks, API attacks, and supply chain attacks, that can compromise the security and integrity of their systems and data. For example, a joint white paper by CERT-In, Mastercard, and CSIRT-Fin revealed that there was a 62% increase in API attacks on Indian financial sector in 2023. The majority of cyber attacks on APIs deployed in the Indian financial sector was due to security misconfiguration. API attacks can expose sensitive data, manipulate transactions, and disrupt services.
Given the high stakes and the dynamic nature of cyber risks, the financial sector needs to adopt a proactive approach to cyber security, rather than a reactive one. A proactive approach means anticipating and preventing cyber threats before they cause damage, rather than responding and recovering after an incident. A proactive approach also means investing in cyber security measures that can deliver a positive return on investment (ROI), rather than treating cyber security as a cost centre.
One of the ways to achieve a proactive approach to cyber security is to engage with a cyber security consultancy that can provide expert guidance, advice, and support to the financial sector. A cyber security consultancy can help the financial sector with:
- Cyber security strategy: Develop and implement a cyber security strategy that aligns with their business objectives, risk appetite, and regulatory requirements. A cyber security strategy can help the financial sector define their cyber security vision, goals, and priorities, and establish a governance framework, policies, and procedures to manage cyber risks effectively.
- Cyber security assessment: Assess the current cyber security posture and identify their strengths and weaknesses. A cyber security assessment can help the financial sector evaluate their cyber security maturity, capabilities, and performance, and benchmark themselves against industry standards and best practices. A cyber security assessment can also help the financial sector identify and prioritise their cyber security gaps and vulnerabilities, and recommend remediation actions and improvement plans.
- Cyber security implementation: Advising on implementation of cyber security solutions that can enhance their cyber resilience and protection. A cyber security implementation can help the financial sector deploy cyber security technologies, tools, and processes that can prevent, detect, and respond to cyber threats, and mitigate their impact. Implementing cyber security can also help the financial sector train and educate their staff and stakeholders on cyber security awareness and skills, and foster a cyber security culture within their organisation.
- Cyber security monitoring and testing: Monitor and test their cyber security effectiveness and readiness. Cyber security monitoring and testing can help the financial sector collect and analyse cyber security data and metrics, and generate insights and reports that can inform their cyber security decision making and improvement. Monitoring and testing can also help the financial sector conduct cyber security audits, reviews, and exercises, and simulate cyber attacks and scenarios, to validate their cyber security controls and capabilities, and identify and address any issues or weaknesses.
- Cyber security incident response and recovery: Responding and recovery from cyber security incidents and breaches. A cyber security incident response and recovery plan can help the financial sector contain and eradicate cyber threats, and restore their normal operations and services, as quickly and efficiently as possible. A cyber security plan incident response and recovery can also help the financial sector investigate and analyse the root causes and impacts of cyber incidents, and learn from their lessons and experiences, and implement corrective and preventive actions to prevent recurrence and improve their cyber security resilience.
By engaging with a cyber security consultancy, like Forensic Control, the financial sector can benefit from the power of cyber security expertise, experience, and innovation, and achieve a proactive approach to cyber security that can help them protect their data, assets, and reputation, and enhance their customer confidence and trust. We help the financial sector adapt and thrive in the changing and challenging cyber security landscape, by providing proactive and reactive Cyber Security Strategies. Please contact us if you would like to understand how we can help your financial organisation reduce risk and protect against cyber threats.