Ransomware is top threat to financial services

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The financial, operational, and reputational risks of ransomware make it the top threat facing financial services organizations, a new report from F-Secure says.

The three most common routes used to spread ransomware are phishing, exposed remote desktop protocol (RDP) ports, and the exploitation of vulnerable software.

"Financial service organizations that understand their IT estates, what opportunities they have to detect attacks, and what risks and threats are facing their industry, can prepare themselves to mitigate most of the damages caused by the kind of ransomware attacks we see today," says F-Secure's global head of incident response Joani Green. "Detecting attacks is obviously the first step, but organizations that prepare a full plan for responding to ransomware can put a stop to these incidents in a matter of hours instead of days or weeks."

Though ransomware is the top threat, the report also finds that supply chains and cloud security are key areas of concern. The spread of capabilities coming from nation-state threats and cyber criminals is seen as a common development for both.

"If you look at the threat landscape as a whole, tactics, techniques, and procedures trickle down from the highly-skilled, well-resourced nation-state attackers to professional cyber criminals. That's why cloud security and supply chain attacks are the financial sector's biggest concerns. Ransomware attacks are viewed by many in the sector as today's biggest threat to operational resilience, but we can already see the signs that attacks against these other areas will become more important in the months and years ahead," says F-Secure head of threat intelligence Callum Roxan.

Technologies such as SWIFT, Open Banking, and ATMs present an ongoing risk to financial organizations as offensive techniques deployed against them evolve. Financially motivated state-backed groups continue to conduct ATM cashouts and fraudulent abuse of compromised, bank-operated SWIFT system endpoints.

Cryptocurrency related attacks have increased too, making it important for central banks to secure digital currency infrastructure -- particularly as they increase their cryptocurrency holdings and roll out their own digital currencies.

You can get the full report on the F-Secure site.

Photo credit: Ton Snoei / Shutterstock

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