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In 1951, Willie Sutton reputedly replied to a reporter's inquiry as to why he robbed banks by saying "because that's where the money is." Although he denies ever having said it, it’s no different today - cyber criminals attack the financial industry because that’s where the money is.

Businesses in the financial services industry are highly vulnerable to advanced, targeted email attacks such as spear phishing and business email compromise (BEC). These companies have access to valuable personal information on their clients, which is highly sought after by threat actors, as it can be used to craft convincing social engineering and impersonation attacks. Not surprisingly, the banking industry is one of the top targets of threat actors using phishing attacks to breach security. Ponemon Institute reports that 69% of financial services organizations have now experienced a cyberattack at some point during their lifetime.

While safety protocols are built into both internal and consumer-facing banking websites and apps, it is often the human element that fails to detect a scam, frequently resulting in wire fraud. It is critical that financial services organizations take appropriate measures to secure email accounts and protect sensitive information from tampering and theft. 

Encryption is a particularly important component to protecting organizations in the financial sector. The use of advanced authentication mechanisms like SPF, DMARC and DKIM to verify the integrity of the sender and recipient is available through some email security providers, but is often not implemented properly - or even at all. Those in the financial sector should be choosing a provider who will partner with them to understand the threats they face, work with them to manage the protection needed to keep them safe, and maintain the level of vigilance needed to protect users from emerging threats.

We’ve also compiled a list of general technology best practices that organizations can follow to protect their business in any industry.

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