New cybersecurity paradigm for banks

Kaspersky Lab makes the case for shift in banks cybersecurity strategies

Tags: Kaspersky LabUnited Arab Emirates
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New cybersecurity paradigm for banks  The same technology could protect one bank while exposing another if not well configured, warns Hasbini.
By  David Ndichu Published  May 11, 2017

Misconfigured security solutions may be putting regional organisations at risk.

Local enterprises, in many cases financially able to invest in the latest and most advanced security solutions, end up on the receiving end of cybercriminals because their security environments are simply ill-configured.

It’s fairly easy to comply with rules and regulations, which in most cases entails checking off on a checklist, notes Mohammad Amin Hasbini, senior security researcher, Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Team. In reality, things are much more complicated inside organisations because from a technological perspective they need to protect everything. “The weakest link will end up causing damage to the entire system.”

This is largely a human resource issue, driven not only by the general skills shortage in specialised cybersecurity fields, but also misallocation of personnel where the right people are assigned the unsuitable roles, notes Hasbini.

There’s further risk if organisations pursue a one-size-fits-all approach. The same technology could protect one bank while exposing another if not well configured, notes Hasbini. “There is therefore renewed emphasis on human capital inside organisations, whether it’s a bank or other enterprises.”

Banking and finance

GCC financial institutions are among the best in the region in investment in cybersecurity. Many have upped their security posture in recent years due to well-publicised cases such as the notorious Shamoon attacks, observes Hasbini. Capabilities are also getting much higher across the board, he adds.

Though there are certainly many cases of banks falling victims to hacking, what is less publicised is the many that banks that have been able to fend off attackers. “These financial institutions have actually implementing and configuring security software the right way and they are able to defend their clients. There are some things that may outside their purview such as fraud, and they cover that through various methods,” observes Hasbini.

With banks particularly, attacks usually materialise as the result of a fault from someone inside.

That said, there are still limitations on capabilities, Hasbini observes. For instance, in case of state sponsored APTs, it could be beyond the capabilities of the technologies inside the typical bank.

Governments are increasingly tightening the screws on organisations on data protection. The overreaching GDPR being rolled out by the EU starting later this month will have major impact on data protection all over the world. In the UAE, NESA and ISC regulations have also added impetus to compliance.       

Hasbini says Governments adapting to technology changes is extremely important. And expressing that through rules and regulations is even more important, because it helps taking compliance reach certain maturity levels. “A necessary level of maturity is required otherwise threats will run rampant and we cannot afford that in organisations such as banks. Banks are now considered part of critical infrastructure and represent the wealth of a country or a nation.”

Skills

Technology can help monitor what is inside the IT environment but if there’s no one to catch and analyse the alerts and ultimately deal with them, then they are useless. That is why security training and awareness are becoming as vital as the technology in the fight against cybercrime.  

Hasbini says an increasing number of organisations are requesting training around information security in the region. Kaspersky Lab offers different levels of training including awareness training for managers and non-IT staff as the need for information security becomes pervasive not just for work but also at home to protect connected devices.

At a higher level, the company offers advanced training in areas such as forensics and malware analysis. “We have large enterprises in the region building their own forensics teams and trying to develop their own investigative capabilities. It’s all about improving their cyber security maturity,” Hasbini says.  

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