The Financial Sector is Focusing on Cybersecurity in 2024 – Does That Bode Well for Consumers?

For many years now, the financial sector has been right in the centre of the cybersecurity battleground. With threats like phishing, ransomware, DDoS attacks, and SQL injections, the financial industry is often targeted at all angles, with one of the most infamous breaches being the Equifax attack in 2017 – whereby 147 million financial and personal records were exposed by cybercriminals.

With tools and methods consistently being innovated by attackers, the problem is not going away anytime soon. This is why the financial sector is focusing on cybersecurity in 2024, introducing new systems and security methods that increase observability across multi-cloud networks, and subsequently aims to stop attacks before it happens, rather than attempt to resolve the damage retrospectively.

Data in the Financial Sector

The benefits for consumers are evident, because the financial sector has always been a sticky area when it comes to data protection. Over the last few years, consumers in the know have done what they can to control who gets their data and why, with some choosing to remove personal information from the internet entirely.

Data given to financial institutions, however, is a different story. Most of the time, this is data that needs to be handed over to companies to utilise their services. Data such as debit card numbers, names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, and more. This is sensitive information that is entrusted to financial companies, and is left to them to protect from nefarious entities who look to use the information for profit.

What Does Increased Cybersecurity Mean?

The Financial Sector is Focusing on Cybersecurity in 2024 – Does That Bode Well for Consumers?

With increased cybersecurity, consumers can be content in the knowledge that more is being done to protect that data. That’s not to say that data is now guaranteed to be safe, of course. But the emphasis on strong cybersecurity for tomorrow’s cybersecurity challenges is a relief all the same.

Looking back at the Equifax breach, this came down to internal security failings far more than it did cybercriminal efficiency. Leading up to the security breach, the company – which was responsible for around 40% of the US population’s data – failed to patch a well-known vulnerability for its Open Source developing framework. For six months leading up to the breach, the patch known as CVE-2017-5638 was available, only nothing was done to integrate it.

Add to this that Equifax failed to segment its ecosystem, so the attackers were easily able to access numerous servers after gaining access through a single web portal breach. With usernames and passwords also sorted in plain text, it became almost too easy to breach such a vulnerable system and exfiltrate data undetected, especially since Equifax failed to renew an encryption certificate for their internal tools. In a case like this – and many others – the fault lies with both the attackers and the holders of the information.

A Secure Future

For too long, businesses have been relaxed in their cybersecurity efforts, choosing to cut back on costs and leave data vulnerable, rather than put a good amount of their budget into ensuring utmost security. With the consequences being made evident in recent years, however, this is set to change, and that’s something consumers can be thankful for.

Of course, controlling their own data remains a top priority, but for the companies that need sensitive data including payment details, it bodes well that there is a widespread focus on building their defences even higher, ensuring that cybercriminals have a far heavier task when attempting entry.

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