The Biggest Concerns within the US Financial Sector in 2022

October 13, 2022 The value of digital payment transactions is growing as the world’s payment environment moves more and more away from cash. Over the past few years, BFSI (Banking, Financial Service, and Insurance) firms have continued to be a top target for hackers. In fact, the Sixth Annual Bank Survey found that more than 70% of fintech companies named information security as their top issue.According to VMware’s Modern Bank Heists study, since the COVID-19 epidemic, there have been 238% more cyberattacks on companies in the financial sector. Artificial intelligence (AI) and self-learning malware are making cyberattacks more sophisticated. While ransomware assaults are the most profitable for cybercriminals, phishing attacks prey on unsuspecting and defenseless consumers. Thus, it should come as no surprise that 39% of financial industry executives think that the overall network security threat to BFSI sector companies has increased significantly.

Financial and banking firms in the US must put cybersecurity first above all else given the volume of sensitive data that the BFSI sector must manage. Leading analytics company GlobalData predicts that rising demand for cybersecurity would cause worldwide security revenues in the retail banking industry to climb from $7.9 billion in 2019 to $9.8 billion in 2024.

What are the biggest concerns facing the financial sector in the United States for 2022?

Reimbursing cyber scams

As banks are under pressure to compensate their scammed consumers, rising cybercrime rates translate to rising costs for the industry. More than half (58%) of those who conduct their banking online encounter scams via email or SMS at least once per week, and 23% report having fallen victim to a cyberattack.

Banks currently reimburse authorized push payment (APP) fraud at an average rate of 46%. Although many banking institutions are refusing reimbursements for online fraud, this is due to change soon, or else the situation will backfire. For example, measures supported by the UK government will require banks to reimburse everyone. This is only one illustration of the fact that if banks are to secure their consumers and their business line in 2022, they must prioritize cybersecurity more highly.

To exchange efficient strategies, banks will need to collaborate with governments and industry organizations. The public must continue to get education on preventative measures, but ultimately it is the banks’ responsibility to establish security models that will give them and their clients the greatest level of safety.

Maintain compliance with strict privacy regulations

The use of social engineering and account takeover fraud will increase over the next years. Financial institutions must not only conduct comprehensive data checks beyond document verification at account opening to fight this but also keep track of customer identities throughout the customer lifecycle.

Banks must decide how to manage sensitive personal data like biometrics as GDPR and other privacy regulations are being established throughout the world. As a result, many institutions believe that finding a partner that can protect this sensitive personal information is more practical than modernizing internal systems and processes.

Finally, the public is becoming more concerned about how technology corporations utilize personal data. More difficult questions will be raised as a result, and any responses must pass a strict ethical standard. The application of AI to compliance and fraud will need to be explained by banks. Ascertaining whether their partners and vendors have complete control over the technology they provide will also have an impact on vendor onboarding. Every bank will need to be able to justify decisions made to regulators and the broader public.

Leveraging AI to combat cyber fraud

Instead of being a subset of financial crime, banking fraud now coexists with ransomware, phishing, and other types of cybercrime. Fraudsters are functioning methodically, getting more skilled at spotting loopholes in the automated systems that financial institutions are putting in place, and getting better at learning through repetition.

For example, banks and mortgage lenders have started to link more of their fraud charges to the fact that their clients are doing more transactions using mobile banking apps. According to a LexisNexis survey, more than half of the respondents who worked for US banks and credit lenders say that mobile channel fraud has increased by 10% or more this year.

Today’s fraudsters collaborate with criminal gangs that provide crime as a service. As a result, frauds and forgeries become increasingly sophisticated, making them impossible for humans to detect without artificial intelligence (AI) to support their decision-making.

Decentralized currencies are at the center of attacks

Meanwhile, cryptocurrency has become a primary target of cyberattacks. Huge sums of money are frequently present on cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets, making them a powerful attraction for attackers trying to make money from their attacks.

These are sometimes straightforward social engineering attacks, and other times they are far more sophisticated technically. We expect to see more cyberattacks on decentralized currencies given the amount of money that can be stolen in a single successful attack (possibly reaching millions of dollars). For example, in December 2021 criminals stole nearly $200 million from the crypto trading platform Bitmart.

However, we should anticipate law enforcement and governments to become more actively involved in both the investigation of cryptocurrency assaults and the use of cryptocurrency vulnerabilities. For example, government agencies like the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) may try to regulate cryptocurrencies more strictly as they regulate traditional currencies.

Attacks bypassing MFA

Although multi-factor authentication is a prerequisite for enabling strong customer authentication, the latest attacks against Cisco and Uber have profoundly demonstrated that fraudsters can bypass MFA. Using sophisticated tactics and tools like auto-diallers, criminals have managed to intercept one-time passwords (OTP) and compromise banking accounts. Automating the process and creating what is known as MFA fatigue they force customers to give up OTPs to malicious bots.

OTP interception is now trivial compared to what it has been historically, and that innovation fundamentally shifts the economics in the favor of the attackers. The LexisNexis report highlighted this concern saying that balancing fraud detection with customer friction is a top challenge for banks. Banks need to embrace phishing-resistant MFA methods that eliminate the risk of being defrauded while offering a superb customer experience for all possible use cases and authentication journeys.

A bigger attack surface and higher attack sophistication levels are a result of the rising use of complicated technologies and interaction with third-party systems. Today, maintaining a strong cybersecurity posture entails more than merely defending sensitive systems and data from damaging external attacks. Additionally, it entails better data privacy, identity protection, and vulnerability management. Banks and financial institutions can outsource part of the burden of staying compliant with regulations and securing customer financial data by partnering with a trusted managed services provider. These companies aggregate experience and expertise to help banking institutions stay one step ahead of their adversaries.