In the modern age of cyber security, financial institutions have a lot to worry about. While the Internet has yielded many services for customers to access their money and other financial products with minimal overhead, such access has opened the door to hackers and other would-be attackers in a few common ways but for a variety of reasons.
The common expectation is a hacker, some sort of thief who wants to access funds and transfer them away from customers into their own pockets, or the pockets of the less fortunate. Think of the Robin Hood types. Not only do these characters pretend to be customers, but they often hack in as employees to get Personal Identifiable Information (PII) to assist them in committing fraudulent acts in other venues and such is the nature of virtual identity theft.
The increasingly more common problem is when these rogues instigate a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). This is when they have somehow loaded the web portal of the targeted financial institution with so much junk data that it functions improperly or not at all. This, obviously, can be a costly event because of the corresponding attrition of customers due to loss of faith and inconvenience.
Digital Forensics professionals are noting that most of these attacks are not for financial gain but are ideological in nature; “hacktivists”, cyberterrorists, or anyone with an axe to grind against a bank may attempt to thwart its daily functioning for philosophical reasons. Whether it is the fictional “Fight Club” or the real-world analogy “Anonymous,” financial institutions are shelling out more and more in order to protect themselves from the seemingly ever-increasing ranks of the saboteurs.
The last line of Anonymous’ mantra “Expect us” is the clarion call to ramp up cybersecurity for financial institutions.
Edited by Blaise McNamee