‘Banks are being terrorized’ in the wake of the Equifax hack

Banks are facing a barrage of cyberattacks as a result of high-profile data breaches and banking trojans. ThreatMetrix say the onslought is only set to worsen.
  • A new report from security firm ThreatMetrix says banks are the top targets for cybercriminals and the threat becomes even more pronounced following data breaches.
  • Overall, there was a 32% increase in cyberattacks in Q3 of 2017 in comparison to Q3 of 2016, the report says.
  • Phony account creation attacks against financial institutions grew 50% this quarter with a growth of 240% since 2015.
  • Vanita Pandey, vice president of strategy and product marketing at ThreatMetrix, says that banks may already be seeing an increase in attacks following the Equifax breach and that this uptick is only set to worsen.
  • Breaches aren’t the only source of credentials fuelling the fire however. For example, IBM X-Force this week reported discovering a new banking Trojan called IcedID which seamlessly displays a legitimate bank’s URL in the address bar.
  • “The customer is often the point of weakness,” explains Cheryl Sorensen, president of Houston-based Prosperity Bank. “Usually it’s a fraudster convincing a customer to download something malicious. The customer is increasingly becoming the point of vulnerability.”
  • To step-up vigilance, Sorensen says they routinely “double-check everything and put into place all kinds of security measures.” She adds that employees are now subjected to rigorous testing because cybercrime has “become rampant and [banks] are being terrorized”.
  • As for fraud monitoring, Shawn Connors, principal of cybersecurity and privacy at PwC, says that AI and machine learning is increasingly being used on the frontlines because it allows for a more “dynamic understanding of data and patterns.”
  • While some think the shift to digital has made it easier for criminals to target banks with mass fraud, Sorensen believes that while valid, those concerns shouldn’t prevent banks from delivering the digital experience customers want.
  • “When the ATM first came out people were afraid to use it, and now there’s one on every corner,” she pointed out. “I think the industry has been pretty adaptive and we’ve come a long way in a short period of time.”

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