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Data Breaches on the Rise in Financial Services

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Data Breaches on the Rise in Financial Services

Check out the latest report on financial breaches in 2018.

· Security Zone ·
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Financial services organizations are a prime target for hackers looking to steal and sell valuable data. This is because these firms handle sensitive information known as PII (personally identifiable information), for example, customers’ home addresses, bank statements, social security numbers, as well as other financial data. In Financial World: Breach Kingdom, Bitglass' latest financial breach report, the Next-Gen CASB reveals information about the state of security for financial services in 2018.

The Rise of Breaches

The number of breaches within financial services in 2018 has reached new heights. From January to August 2018, financial services firms experienced nearly three times as many breaches as they did over the same time frame in 2016 (103 breaches this year compared to 37 in 2016). This is likely due to a large number of reasons. For example, some organizations may have an excessive reliance upon existing cybersecurity infrastructure and find it difficult to justify additional expenses in light of their existing sunk costs in security. Other firms may simply overestimate what traditional endpoint and premises-based tools can do to protect data from evolving threats. Regardless, the fact remains that breaches of financial services firms are on the rise. We expect this trend will continue unless these companies get more strategic with their cybersecurity tools and policies.

In addition to this higher frequency of breaches, the size of breaches also appears to be on the rise. The top three breaches in 2018 were SunTrust Banks (1.5M records exposed), Guaranteed Rate (188K records exposed), and RBC Royal Bank (66K records exposed). In 2016, the sum total of all breached records was only 64,512.

Malware Leads the Pack

In prior years, the causes of breaches in financial services were fairly diverse. Lost or stolen devices and hacking each caused about 20 percent of breaches, while unintended disclosures and malicious insiders were responsible for 14 percent and 13 percent, respectively. However, this year saw a massive shift in the balance of power. Nearly three-quarters of all financial services breaches in 2018 were caused by malware or hacking. This seems consistent with headlines over the last year – ransomware, cloud crypto-jacking, and highly specialized malware variants have dominated the news when it comes to breaches. In 2018, we’ve seen ransomware, like WannaCry, continue to spread; Emotet rise as a leading, modular banking trojan; context-aware threats, like the Rakhni Trojan, emerge; and the growth of ransomware-as-a-service platforms that enable inexperienced cybercriminals to be more productive in their malicious endeavors.

In another recent Bitglass study, Malware, P.I., nearly half of all organizations (44 percent) were found to be infected with malware in at least one of their cloud apps. Additionally, a very small number of anti-malware tools proved capable of detecting ShurL0ckr, which was a new, zero-day piece of malware at the time of the study. Clearly, the need for advanced, behavior-based threat detection is at an all-time high.

What Next?

Regulations, like the Gramm-Leach-Biley Act, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, are designed to ensure that organizations are protecting their customers’ financial information. They contain various requirements related to securing data access, responding to cyber attacks and more. Hefty fines face organizations that fail to comply (more than $5 million under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act), but that’s not the only motivation for companies to better protect their data. Breaches can also harm an organization’s reputation and, consequently, revenue and long-term success.

In financial services, far more must be done to secure sensitive information. While it is imperative that the enterprise can protect data against any threat, it is now clear that defending against malware deserves special attention. This is particularly true in light of the rise of cloud and BYOD. More devices and applications are storing and processing data than ever before, creating more opportunities for malware to infect the enterprise. 

Bitglass created this report by aggregating data from the Identity Resource Center and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. These standalone databases detail information about data theft in financial services organizations each year. By analyzing these records in tandem, Bitglass identified key trends and insights about the state of financial breaches in 2018. To learn more about the state of cybersecurity in financial services, download Financial World: Breach Kingdom.

data breach ,casb ,cybersecuity ,data security ,security ,fintech ,financial services

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