Companies that deal with finances are all too familiar with what can happen if data is stolen or compromised. Data breaches and other cybercrime can lead to lost money, a damaged reputation, and more. For those in the financial sector, cybersecurity is not just a suggestion. Businesses must pay attention to the latest trends in cybercrime and learn how to protect against them. Working with experts can make this a lot easier and provide advanced protection.
How is Data Stolen?
Data encompasses anything that can be personally identifying information, from names and emails to IP addresses and bank account numbers. Today, cybercriminals have numerous methods they can use to try to steal financial or other information. Often, they get in because someone clicks a link in an email from someone they don’t know or downloads software on a computer.
Working with experts like those at charlotteitsolutions.com can help protect against this. A few of the most common types of cybercrime include the following.
- Data Breaches: Data breaches occur when a criminal gains access to a business’s data archives. Depending on the data contained therein, criminals may have the opportunity to steal funds from consumers or steal their identity.
- Phishing Attacks: Phishing attacks involve criminals pretending to be someone else to gain access to confidential information like passwords. They may pretend to be someone emailing from a financial institution and request the person’s password to prevent theft. In actuality, they can steal from the person’s account as soon as they have the password.
- Ransomware: Ransomware is inadvertently downloaded on a computer and will freeze the computer, requesting a ransom be paid for it to work again. While the computer is frozen, information on it can be stolen. Those who pay the ransom will find it is ineffective or they’re just asked for more money. The criminal will not unlock the computer.
- Malware: Malware is unknowingly downloaded onto a person’s computer and can start sending data to the criminal as soon as it’s installed. Often, the download will be installed in the background, so the person may not realize they’ve downloaded and installed any program.
What Happens to the Business?
Businesses in the financial sector that are victims of cybercrime may face many repercussions, depending on the severity of the attack and how much money or data was stolen. Even if the damage is minor, it should serve as a sign that more protection is needed, as it may not be minor the next time something happens.
Businesses must be aware of what can happen and how it can impact them. Some of the potential penalties they should be aware of include the following.
- Financial Issues: Lost funds will need to be replaced and reparations may be needed to make customers whole again. There also may be fines or other fees for regulatory compliance issues that must be paid. Even if the data stolen is minimal, the financial losses can be extreme.
- Damaged Reputation: Businesses that go through a data breach can suffer from a damaged reputation. After all, especially in the finance sector, customers expect their data to be protected. The damage to the company’s reputation hinges on the amount of data stolen, how it was stolen, and the response to the breach. Taking the right steps to minimize potential damages can help a business protect its reputation.
- Criminal Investigations: It is possible for a criminal investigation to commence as a result of a data breach. While most begin overseas, some of them are done by criminals living in the United States. Businesses may need to provide information about the breach to federal agencies to help determine how it occurred and who is responsible.
How to Protect Against Cybercrime
Protection is key for businesses today, especially those in the financial sector that must follow federal regulations. Today, there are numerous ways to protect against cybercrime. It is recommended for businesses to use a variety of methods for the best protection.
- Advanced Encryption: Advanced encryption ensures that even if data is stolen, it can’t be opened and read without the encryption key. Using advanced encryption methods can make it far more difficult for any personal or valuable data to be stolen and used by a criminal.
- Multi-factor Authentication: Multifactor authentication (MFA) helps protect passwords. Often, MFA involves sending a code to the person’s phone or email that needs to be entered to log in. Even if a criminal has the password, they won’t be able to easily pass the MFA methods used, so they can’t get into the account and steal funds or data.
- Training for Employees: Malware and ransomware are downloaded onto a computer and can work in the background to steal data. Protecting against this involves training employees on what they should or shouldn’t open when they receive emails with links. It’s recommended to update the training at least yearly to remind employees of the importance of protecting against cybercrime.
- Monitoring and Threat Detection: Expert services can be used to monitor the company’s software and cloud assets against any threats. Threat detection software can alert the business if anything unusual is detected, meaning a much faster response is possible. The faster a response is, the less likely it is the cybercriminal will be able to obtain any data.
Work With Cybercrime Experts
With the importance of cybersecurity today, businesses in the financial sector should work with experts to make sure finances and data are protected. Expert companies provide assistance monitoring the business, which helps spot any potential vulnerabilities so they can be patched before there is an issue. They can also help the business create and implement an incident response plan, providing faster action if something does happen. This can help minimize the potential damages and the extent of the data breach.
Cybersecurity is vital, and it’s going to continue to be a concern for finance businesses far into the future. Businesses should take steps now to help protect against cybercrime instead of waiting to see if something happens. The more proactive a business is, the easier it is to make sure data is protected.