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June 14, 2019

The Biggest Cyber Threats Banks Will Face in 2019

These days, most banking transactions happen online, and data is stored digitally. It’s a convenient way to handle personal finances but also a very dangerous one, with the proliferation of cyber attacks. People trust their banks to protect their hard-earned income and sensitive personal details.

So it makes perfect sense that banks would be pushing for innovations in the cybersecurity field. They have to do their best to protect their users and themselves from financial loss and reputational damage, after all. Otherwise, more secure competitors pull ahead.

Unfortunately, though, this is much easier said than done, thanks to how big of a target banks are. Working in cybersecurity in the finance sector is akin to anticipating small fires and putting them out before they grow. Add to that the fact that the way consumers interact with their bank keeps evolving. The financial sector is ambling towards a disaster, waiting to happen.

Here’s a peek into which banking cybersecurity risks are bound to play the most prominent role in 2019.

Third-Party Services Keep Posing Major Risk

Banks have been at the forefront of cybersecurity development since the introduction of digital banking methods. They have spent billions on retaining secure systems and assets. However, hackers always find the easiest way in, which in this digitally connected age comes in the form of third-party services.

While banks are doing everything they can to maintain online safety, hackers have been using breaches in third-party providers’ networks. Banking networks and/or data are often shared by third-party services who provide the necessary resources they lack in-house. This is particularly relevant in the IT sphere, for instance, which is becoming ever more decentralized.

The issue then comes down to which measures these third-party providers have in place to protect their own data and systems. Unfortunately, history has proven so far that third-party vendors pose a major risk, with many large-scale banking attacks originating from that area. They will continue to be a significant security pain-point for the banking sector in 2019.

Web-Based Services Continue To Open Up Security Vulnerabilities

Banks have already started expanding their digital offering to compensate for users’ migration away from physical cash. That investment is growing, with new web and mobile-based services rearing their heads every year. All of which help to connect users and their banks in more profound ways.

This adds to the level of depth in the services that banks can offer to their clients, but it also opens up more vulnerabilities. Banks will have to work to address them if they plan on keeping their reputations safe. Regrettably, there’s still a long way to go. Multiple studies have found major security flaws in both mobile banking apps and online services.

For example, Accenture recently tested 30 popular banking applications and found each contains at least one security flaw. Another report also concluded that web-based banking services are just as much at risk.

Banks Will Have To Protect Against Cryptocurrency Exploits Too

There’s no denying the popularity and veracity of cryptocurrencies. Banks have been trying to figure out how to deal with this new competition for a while now. Their solution? Can’t beat them, so join them. Around 20% of financial firms are looking to enter the crypto field in 2019.

Despite that, the crypto industry faces threats of its own, with a considerable number of big hacks plaguing these digital currency platforms. Which means that banking institutions will need to take that into account and apply additional security measures. At least, if they plan on making this venture a success.

There’s no way of knowing what the merging of these two worlds will hold in store for 2019 and beyond. But banks will certainly have their hands full with a slew of new threats heading their way.

Banking Cybersecurity: A Hopeless Case?

People are understandably concerned about the potential pitfalls banks face because it threatens their financial security. All of the information above may sound somewhat bleak, but banks aren’t the only ones who can protect their valuable assets.

Users can do a lot from their side to make sure their accounts stay safe. Whether a banking app feels safe or not, mobile phones are a huge target for cybercriminals. They can use various ways to intercept any data sent to or from the device. Or keep track of passwords typed into the phone.

Additional safety measures are a good idea because it’s not just the banking app that has to be secure but the phone as well. Users can get a VPN, for instance, which encrypts any data traveling over a network that the phone is connected to.

Once that data is encrypted, it’s scrambled so any hacker that tries to decipher the contents will only meet frustration. Think about other benefits of a VPN, one of the most prominent of which is privacy. No more being tracked by ISPs, advertisers, and others who might want to exploit your data.

Other safety measures that people should look into include password managers, secure screen lock methods, and avoiding risky online behavior.

In Conclusion

Banks and other financial institutions are huge targets for hackers and other cyber attackers. These large institutions are spending the big bucks to keep the multitudes of threats they’re facing at bay. But the interconnectedness of people’s current digital lifestyle means that it’s just as much up to individuals to protect their own financial security.

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