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Key Financial Sector Cyber Security Challenges

Banks have always been prime targets for cyber attackers yet they understand the need for customer information and cash security. To bypass the security measures, cyber attackers have taken advantage have created new techniques and tools and made use of technological enablers to conduct cyber-attacks. This places capabilities, complexity and connectivity as the key SWIFT cyber security challenges derailing the battle against cyber threats within the financial services industry.

Connectivity

The internet of things has triggered connectivity among financial institutions. Banks operate by having a wide range of systems that are connected to the internet in a bid to facilitate business functionality. Yet, this systems are used by internal users to browse websites, check emails, and access online services. Such connectivity leaves financial institutions highly susceptible to cyber-attacks. Moreover, through the SWIFT network, globalization has connected numerous financial institutions. Access to correspondent banking has offered significant economic benefits such as; allowing trade between suppliers and customers from different countries using one currency mainly the US dollar. Unfortunately, such a system attracts cyber criminals since money can easily be moved from one jurisdiction to another. Though there are strongly recommended security controls that prevent fraud arising from cyber-attacks, their adoption has not been as wide spread as connectivity globally. This is where a SWIFT cyber security provider helps with implementation of ideal security controls that protect weak cyber security points in financial institutions that can be exploited.

Complexity

The increasing connectivity has led to increased network and system interface complexity that has in turn increased the network defense challenges. For instance, greater logging activity requirements create the need for better monitoring and storage. As such, organizations must consider incident responses that require different skill sets andtools to conduct analysis. Top banks spend a fortune annually to secure and safeguard their systems, cash and customer information. However, smaller or new financial institutions may lack the same monetary power to retain a high level of confidentiality and security. This gap between the broader community and industry leaders continues to expand creating the notion that a successful attack on weak SWIFT members would trigger systemic risk implications for all members including the top banks.

Capabilities

Cyber attackers have improved in regards to capabilities paving way for potentially damaging and huge financial losses incurred through cyber-attacks. Notably, the security risks among financial institutions grow as their systems’ information and tools become more and more available to anyone who has the money to purchase them. For instance, a manual on ATM security is available on hidden internet markets while malware that can steal bank card information from the point of sale memory is available online at a fee.

Summary

Though it is important to understand the different SWIFT cyber security challenges, it is more important to determine how the security landscapes can be altered to prevent future threats and seal current cyber security gaps. An experienced and knowledgeable SWIFT cyber security provider will assist with identification of security gaps, recommend the right cyber security measure to implement and ensure that your institution is SWIFT compliant. 

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