At a SWIFT-run business forum a few years ago, a handful of banking insiders gave a rundown of the cybersecurity threats that keep them up at night. Some of what they were worried about was predictable—giant data breaches running hundreds of millions of dollars, adversaries getting smarter and more sophisticated, etc.—but some of it displayed a little more nuance. Some were specifically worried that they might completely miss a cyberattack and only realize what had happened much later (which is hardly an implausible scenario). Others were worried about the high rate of false positives in anti-fraud operations.
Right now, your bank is probably vulnerable to costly cyber attacks. Why? Because, like most financial institutions, you probably haven’t implemented end-to-end encryption or robust endpoint protection. It’s easy to understand why something like this could fall through the cracks—no one wants to shell out for a complex software solution whose purpose they don’t fully get—but the next big cyber bank heist is coming, and you probably don’t want to be the victim.
Data is big news. Whether it’s a tech company selling their users’ personal information, or a credit card company having a data breach that affects millions of people and potentially millions of dollars—data is on people’s minds these days.
In 2018, the Bank of Chile found that the malicious KillDisk virus had infiltrated 9,000 of its computers and 500 of its servers and was poised to wreak havoc on their internal systems. Understandably, they immediately went into crisis mode, working as quickly as possible to disconnect those workstations. During the ensuing flurry of activity, the hackers were able to perform their real attack completely unnoticed: $10 million worth of fraudulent SWIFT transactions that the bank was too busy to notice.
For attackers and fraudsters around the web, financial institutions have a great big ‘X’ marked on their backs. Some estimates suggest that banks and other companies in the financial sector are 300 times more likely to face cyber attacks than other businesses, with IBM suggesting that nearly 20% of the total cyber security incidents in a given year come from attacks on banks. Last year, Mastercard claimed that they were fighting off more than 460,000 intrusion attempts every day.
When SWIFT messages are utilized in bank heists like the 2016 Bangladesh Bank attack, reports often refer to SWIFT having been “hacked.” In reality, it’s the banks themselves that have had their cybersecurity flaws exposed, and the SWIFT network was only used as a tool for the fraudsters to gain the trust of the financial institutions that are performing the transfers. This might seem like a small nit to pick, but in some ways it’s an important distinction to draw. Why? Because it centers “trust” as one of the most important elements of both successful fraud and successful fraud prevention.
With the current world-wide coronavirus pandemic, more people are working from outside the safety of their usual secure corporate networks. This opens your company up to a whole slew of new hacks and security concerns. Fortunately, there are options when it comes to locking down access to your proprietary data and internal systems.
The rapid spread of the coronavirus around the world is causing lightning-fast changes in almost all areas of our lives, and it can be hard for even the most diligent newsreaders to keep pace. As with any volatile situation, hackers are exploiting the fears and confusion over the virus to perpetrate phishing scams and gain access to sensitive information—but this isn’t a typical, run-of-the-mill crisis: on the one hand, things are so serious that some hackers have actually promised not to launch new ransomware attacks against any healthcare targets during the pandemic—on the other, the US is warning of an ‘unprecedented’ wave of coronavirus scams already in the works.
Of all the ways a hacker can gain access to your confidential business information, Business Email Compromise, or BEC, is one of the least well understood in the business community. There are many reasons for this, among them a lack of understanding of the role social engineering plays and the myriad ways a hacker can ‘obtain’ a legitimate company email address to use to launch their attack.