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Why SMEs, in particular Fintechs, are a Target for Opportunistic Cyber Hackers

Why SMEs, in particular Fintechs, are a Target for Opportunistic Cyber Hackers

Why SMEs, in particular Fintechs, are a Target for Opportunistic Cyber HackersBy Chris Wallis, CEO and Founder, Intruder

Cybersecurity is a critical concern for businesses around the globe, and fintech are no exception. With the increasing reliance on financial technology, these companies are at risk of data breaches and attacks that could destroy hardware, damage services, and tarnish reputations. Fintech firms must be vigilant in their cybersecurity efforts in order to protect themselves and their customers.

Companies often try to downplay the extent of the damage by saying “we were hit by a sophisticated and determined cyber attack,” only to later discover that the attacker was a teenager using free tools from the internet. The takeaway? It’s hard to be fully secure in today’s climate.

Even though you might think it would be difficult for small businesses to protect themselves against cyberattacks, that hasn’t always been the case. In the past, smaller businesses were often overlooked by hackers because they weren’t considered worth the effort. However, a recent report found that 82% of all attacks in 2021 affected organisations with fewer than 1,000 employees. This means that hackers are now targeting the lower-hanging fruit, as larger organisations have become more difficult to crack. It’s simply a matter of effort vs reward.

Cyber risks are on the rise, and it’s costing companies millions to deal with them. According to Check Point Research, global cyber-attacks increased by 42% in the first half of 2022 compared to the year before. As well as fintechs, this is a huge problem for all businesses. Yes – ransomware is a big threat to businesses, but it’s not the only one. There are other threats out there that businesses need to be aware of if they want to stay safe.

What can businesses do? 

Businesses can’t make themselves completely immune to cyber attacks, but they can make it more difficult for attackers. It’s about prevention rather than elimination. One way to do this is by running a vulnerability management program. This helps businesses identify and fix potential security issues before they can be exploited. Traditional vulnerability management tools are a good start, but gaps can still exist in the following areas:

  •     Asset management – ensuring all assets are scanned regularly
  •     Inability to respond to the latest threats due to a lack of resources
  •     Inability to deal with the volume of information

Taking charge of asset management

Businesses need to take charge of their vulnerability management programs by adding asset management to the mix. Without knowing what assets a business has, it’s impossible to protect them.

The 2015 TalkTalk breach occurred because of a site that they claimed they didn’t know about. However, many cloud computing platform organisations are moving towards offering more protection. Modern vulnerability management tools can connect to cloud accounts and make sure that no assets are missed in the scanning schedule. This reduces exposure windows and minimises any potential breaches. Some things, like laptops for new employees, should be routinely added to vulnerability management and patching programs before they are assigned to users. Having a clear process is important in these cases.

Scanning proactively

The number of vulnerabilities discovered each year is overwhelming for small businesses whose IT staff are already spread thin. Last year, 22 thousand vulnerabilities were discovered – that’s nearly two thousand per month. It’s not uncommon for companies to purchase a vulnerability management solution but then fail to keep up with it due to lack of time and resources. This needs to change in order to keep businesses safe from potential cyber attacks.

Modern scanning solutions can provide businesses with incremental scan results and proactive scans for the latest emerging threats. This can save businesses time by providing alerts as to whether or not the organisation is affected, giving them a peace of mind of being informed – but not overwhelmed. This is an important gap to plug, since attackers are becoming ever faster at weaponising the latest vulnerabilities and scanning the internet for victims.

An intelligent approach to prioritisation

It’s important to have a tool that can prioritise threats so that businesses can reduce their attack surface with the right amount of effort. There are many options available, from tools that specialise in threat intelligence to those that aim to reduce your attack surface. Businesses should carefully consider the benefits of each option to find the solution that is right for their business needs.

When it comes to fintechs, they handle increasing amounts of data every day, including private and financial information. This makes them very appealing for hackers to target. Cybersecurity threats are a very serious concern in this industry so for fintechs to gain the trust of their customers, they must be creative when it comes to protecting themselves.

Vulnerability management platforms are key for fintechs, but also for any businesses operating in today’s digital climate. Using these platforms, companies can automate asset management, proactively scan for vulnerabilities, and intelligently prioritise them so that they can focus on the most pressing threats. Although there will always be some risk of falling victim to a cyber attack, companies that adopt these vulnerability management practices will be in a much better position to defend themselves.

Global Banking & Finance Review


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