Biggest Cybersecurity Threats in the Financial Services Sector


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Cyber threats and risks to the financial industry are increasing significantly. Industry veterans should make strategic industry-wide changes to reduce the incidents of cyberattacks in the financial services sector.

Various full-blown cybersecurity incidents have been a wake-up call for various businesses in the finance industry. A successful cyberattack can create a negative brand image for the institutions that deal in finance management. Industry leaders and other regulatory bodies find it difficult to eradicate the threats.

Financial businesses that do not effectively contain a sophisticated full-blown cyber incident can have crippling impacts on financial systems. Cybercriminals are on the prowl to exploit the critical financial infrastructure to create broader financial stability implications. The impact of these cyberattacks on financial institutions can be expensive.

Enterprises in the financial services sector that witness a cyberattack will have a negative brand image and legal litigations. CISOs in this industry need to be aware of the top cybersecurity trends in the finance industry to be aware of the biggest cybersecurity threats.

In this article, let’s explore the Biggest cybersecurity threats in the financial services sector:

Top Cybersecurity Threats to the Finance Industry


Phishing is one of the biggest cybersecurity threats to the banking industry. It is one of the most preferred cyberattack vectors that cybercriminals utilize. Malicious actors utilize spoofed emails or domains to lure users into downloading malware or providing personal information, also known as credential phishing.

The workforce and clients are at significant risk of a successful phishing attack in the financial services sector. Cybercriminals send spoofed emails that replicate official ones to gather sensitive account credentials. The entire workforce should be vigilant to identify phishing attacks to stay secure.

Social Engineering

Phishing and social engineering go hand in hand. However, they can have multiple objectives, and social engineering attacks might also include whaling attacks. Clients and resources are usually the weakest link in the security chain. It can be very easy for malicious actors to trick customers or employees into providing sensitive details and credentials with consent. Cybercriminals have multiple social engineering attack vectors that they can leverage to infiltrate the network.

The malicious actors might leverage phishing or whaling attacks. They might even send a hoax bill that might look like it is sent from a trusted source. Financial institutions need to educate their employees about the best social engineering strategies and the evolution of these threats. Securing the financial organization from social engineering attacks should be a top priority of decision-makers.


Another significant risk to businesses in the financial services sector is ransomware. Cybercriminals that utilize ransomware attacks as a vector will lock the victims out of their systems by encrypting the sensitive data and IT infrastructure through malware. Financial institutions might have to pay the demanded ransom to recover from the disruption.

Malicious actors successfully extort money from financial institutions because they are one of the most regulated industries. As ransomware attacks today are evolving to become data breaches, a full-blown cyberattack can have bigger implications on compliance adherence. 

Cloud-based Cybersecurity Risks

As more and more businesses in the financial services sector adopt the cloud, they migrate all their sensitive data to cloud platforms. Cybercriminals can leverage cloud-based attacks as vectors to gather sensitive data. There has been a tremendous surge in the number of cloud-based attacks. CISOs and CIOs of Banking institutions should ensure that they securely configure the cloud infrastructure to prevent harmful breaches. 

Client Behaviours

Customer behavior can expose sensitive data to various risks just as much as employee behavior. In a few cybersecurity incidents, the implications for poor security strategies of customers’ digital banking can expose their sensitive data to cybercriminals. Reusing the same credentials to open a malicious email can expose sensitive financial data to cybercriminals. Few vendors in the market help financial organizations prevent data breaches because of client errors.

Implementing a well-designed mobile application with a user-friendly interface and inbuilt security functions can eliminate cybersecurity risks.

Fraud and Identity Theft

Fraud and identity theft is another significant threat to the financial services sector. Even though these attacks aren’t new to the industry, cybercriminals are evolving their strategies to accomplish their malicious goals. Cybercriminals can successfully attack fraud and identity theft through other cyberattack channels.

As they evolve their attack strategies, it is becoming challenging for the SecOps teams to identify and mitigate such attacks. Organizations should constantly evaluate customer accounts to identify suspicious activity and prevent such attacks.

Also Read: Why Cybersecurity Needs to Evolve in The Fintech Industry

Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attacks 

The financial sector witnesses many Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks.

During a full-blown DDoS attack, the victim’s server is burdened with forceful fake connection requests. Cybercriminals leverage DDoS attacks as one of the preferred vectors to target financial services because of the diverse attack surface.

Financial institutions’ IT infrastructure includes customer accounts, payment portals, and others that malicious actors can leverage to compromise the system. Malicious actors can deploy additional cyberattack campaigns while the security teams are distracted by a DDoS attack.

Businesses in the financial services sector have multiple significant cybersecurity threats and risks. SecOps teams of such businesses need the best cybersecurity posture to prevent their organization from serious threats.

Nikhil Sonawane
Nikhil Sonawane
Nikhil Sonawane is a Tech Journalist with TalkCMO. He has 4+ years of technical expertise in drafting content strategies for MarTech, Marketing Automation, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). His Commitment to ongoing learning and improvement helps him to deliver thought-provoking insights and analysis on complex technologies and tools that are revolutionizing modern enterprises. He brings his eye for editorial detail and keen sense of language skills to every article he writes. If he is not working, he will be found on treks, walking in forests, or swimming in the ocean.


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