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How to handle ransomware threats in the financial services sector

It doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that the financial services sector has always been a significant target for cybercriminals who are hoping to gain access to sensitive information. According to Verizon’s 2021 data breach report, 56% of data breaches came from external sources with over 96% of these breaches motivated by financial gains. 

In recent times, ransomware has become a major threat to the sector with Microsoft highlighting a significant increase in growth of ransomware attacks. Furthermore, they also add that the financial and insurance sector is in the top 3 of most targeted industries for ransomware attacks. 

So, why should I be so concerned about ransomware? 

It goes without saying but ransomware attacks can be catastrophic for businesses both financially and from a brand reputation point of view. What ransomware does is block an organisation or user’s access to their data by encrypting it until a ransom has been paid by that business. This makes this form of attacks extremely lucrative for cybercriminals. 

So, what can I do to protect my financial services firm against ransomware? 

Use the Zero Trust theory in practice 

This may sound obvious, but cybersecurity is crucial for all organisations no matter how big or small to limit the risks of a cyberattack. One of the best ways of limiting the chances of a ransomware attack is through robust security based on the three main elements of cyber security – Zero Trust, least privilege and assume breach. 

This can be explained in the following ways: 

  • Zero Trust – to not trust anyone and always ask them to prove proof of their identity. 
  • Least privilege – once identity confirmed, only give them access to data they absolutely need to do their day-to-day job. 
  • Assume breach – to always presume that any protection within the business won’t work through user error or system issues. 

You will find that these elements make up the Zero Trust theory which is pivotal to protecting your business in the best possible way with nearly 96% of businesses saying it's critical to the success of their business. 

Ensure that your systems and data are fully secured 

It goes without saying but cybersecurity is always evolving with cybercriminals adapting to find new and more sophisticated ways of gaining access to the data in your business. To keep ahead of the game, businesses need security experts such as Advantage on hand to keep their defenses up to date and up to scratch. 

Our Managed Services team here at Advantage work on the Zero Trust principles, using the latest threat intelligence to keep ahead of the curve when it comes to risks. Our team of experts work extensively to prevent any vulnerabilities and proactively look to improve your security constantly, so you can have total faith in your security. 

Limiting your risk 

One of the recommendations that Microsoft makes is to limit the scope of the damage and work to remove security risks to help mitigate their chances of a ransomware attack. Reduce the scope for damage and make it much more difficult for attackers to gain access to your business systems by making sure that the Zero Trust theory is part of your security build. From this, you will be able to work towards removing any security risks that could leave your business vulnerable, with the first task setting up multifactor authentication (MFA) to help keep your user devices secure. 

Take advantage of Microsoft’s security toolset as a minimum 

Microsoft’s set of security products can provide you with a basic level of security for your business. Taking you from Microsoft Sentinel which keeps an eye on your environment, to Microsoft Defender for Endpoint to help protect your users' devices, Microsoft is fully equipped to help give you a basic level of protection. 

Next Steps? 

If you are a business that is operating in the financial services sector or any other sector for that matter and are looking to improve your overall cyber security through leading cloud-based cybersecurity services, dedicated endpoint security, better firewall security, enhanced enterprise level password management or looking to gain more training around being cyber aware. Please give our team of IT experts a call today to discuss how we can help your business to keep secure. 

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