Financial institutions are under siege from an army of hackers, who every day are coming up with more inventive methods to try and access your personal information via internal communication networks. Last year, the security analysis team at PhishLabs reported a 46% increase in phishing attacks levied against major financial institutions during the second quarter of 2017.This increase reflects the recent observations that rather than going after individual bank accounts, large hacking organizations are now targeting the employees of financial institutions. This attack vector can potentially yield access to thousands of customer accounts at once.So if you’re running a financial institution's internal communication network, what steps can you take to protect both your employees and your clientele better?
Email Spam Filtering to Help Prevent Phishing Attacks
Financial institutions can add a layer of protection between the outside web and the intranet of your employees by employing an email spam filtering service and advanced threat protection. Originally spam filtering was designed to help decrease the amount of junk/spam mail that someone receives that are not business related (Ads, marketing ploys, etc). Now, spam filtering along with advance threat protection has turned into another layer of security with a design that serves to protect from common phishing techniques.
Another way to prevent phishing attacks from successfully penetrating your financial institution’s network is to teach safe email practices to your employees. These practices include:
Training employees not to open attachments in an email unless you can personally verify the sender first.
Being aware of the sender’s address. While not always practical, checking the sender’s address letter by letter can help; all it takes is one hyphen or number to be out of place for an attacker to fool someone into clicking a malicious link.
Reporting any suspicious emails to your IT department as soon as they’re received. The sooner your network security team can evaluate the scope and scale of an attack, the better.
Encouraging the implementation of two-factor authentication across all accounts and devices. Note: Two-factor authentication puts another wall of protection between the account of your employee and the hacker trying to exploit them. This can make it harder for an attacker to gain access to vital company data without the intended target’s smartphone in hand. But do take into account that Trojans can hack SMS and send the authentication to the hacker’s phone: i.e. the hacker does not necessarily have to possess the user’s phone.
Additionally, employing an encrypted email service with end-to-end encrypted communications can prevent leaks of private information that would later lead to a Phishing attack.
Finally, we recommend using DataComm’s SecurMail service, which can automatically stop phishing attacks in their tracks before they even have a chance to hit your employee’s inbox with the help of our team of financial IT experts.
Key Considerations for Safe Email Communications
Phishing attacks have increased in popularity in recent years because as true network security improves, often the only holes left are people themselves. Code may be perfect, but people are fallible, which is why hackers try to exploit their ignorance first and foremost.
As hackers look to exploit the needs for employees of financial institutions to communicate with those outside their organization, it’s imperative for firms to implement a common sense approach to protecting digital communications.
As long as you continually update your staff on the techniques that hackers are using to fool them into clicking the wrong link or downloading an infected file, you add another layer of safety around your customer’s financial information and prevent it from accidentally falling into the wrong hands.
To learn more about how you can protect your financial institution and its employees from phishing attacks, call DataComm at 1-800-544-4627, or visit our Contact Page here.
Financial institutions remain an attractive target for cybercriminals. Learn how to keep your customer data safe.