Last year was one of the busiest on record for cyberattacks. With 2023 already shifting into its second quarter, Bernd Redecker, Senior Director Product and Solution Security at Diebold Nixdorf, provides his insights on current security trends within the financial services industry.
How do you see the security landscape evolving right now?
While there was a drop in security attacks during the pandemic, we are unfortunately seeing that numbers are rising again. Threats within the financial services industry can vary from region to region but often adapt and expand rapidly as attackers develop new technical variants of their strategy. These evolutions can apply to geographies, attack patterns or technology. For example, in 2022 several countries in Europe saw jackpotting attacks with the same group of criminals hopping from country to country.
One of the big concerns in recent years is a shift towards 'structured' organized crime. Criminal groups have become much more coordinated, and some are even operating like businesses. You will find hiring managers are regulating working hours and also providing paid time off. The heightened sophistication of attacks is evident as criminal gangs invest time in developing and organizing their own research and development and continuing to improve a diverse range of skills such as logistics and communication.
The financial services industry is undergoing a period of sustained change, and we've recently seen a shift in focus for many organizations.
Where do you see security sitting as a priority?
Security has always been an important topic, but I have seen a notable shift in its strategic importance for financial institutions. This is not surprising given the rising number and refinement of attacks, alongside the detrimental impact these can have on consumer trust and a brand's image.
One clear change is also when the topic of security is being considered. In the past, security was often more of a reactive consideration. Now, applying a top-down approach to security ensures it is "built-in' to customer journeys and consumer services from the start, enabling it to be embedded into every layer. New technologies such as artificial intelligence are also facilitating a data led approach to security, creating real-time visibility and faster reaction times.
How do you see consumer attitudes towards security changing?
From my experience, security remains one of the top factors that consumers expect from their financial institution. They want their assets to be secure - both their money and their data. A breach can have a catastrophic impact on consumer trust in a bank and can quickly lead to consumers switching providers. A consequence that threatens longer term customer revenue loss for a financial institution, in addition to the immediate financial loss caused by an attack.
What role does trust play when it comes to the topic of security?
Trust across the whole financial services ecosystem - and beyond - is essential. Collaboration between financial institutions, manufacturers, law enforcement and the consumer is key to analyzing these attacks quickly and responding with successful countermeasures. This cooperation cannot exist - or at least will not be as effective - without trust between each party.
We are also seeing collaboration across the criminal network as criminals come together to pool knowledge and expertise to carry out more intelligent attacks; something that will no doubt continue to become more complex and more frequent as the industry continues to evolve. Therefore, a united and proactive approach to security between industry, legislation and law enforcement is the only way to stay one step ahead.
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First appeared in Global Banking & Finance Review