Bankers on the Front lines of Cyber Defense

There was once a time when the only threat to a bank’s security was when that innocent-looking man hands a note to the bank teller that makes her face go ashen. And the only security, save for video surveillance, was the armed guards and the silent alarm that the teller triggers.

Nowadays, terms like firewalls, encryption, anti-virus and cloud providers are just as important to a bank’s security as are the armed guards, huge windows, security cameras and steel vaults. No longer is the masked robber who says “Hand over the money” a bank’s biggest threat. ATM skimming, where nobody is ever shot at, is at the top of the list.

The Three Directions of Banking Security

  • Analyzing big data and assessing potential threats
  • Banks joining forces by sharing information relevant to protection against cybercrime
  • Focusing more on fast recovery and less on prevention of crime

That last point is because breaches are always going to occur no matter how thick the security is, and there’s a lot of room to improve in terms of recovery speed. So it makes sense that this shift in attention is developing at an increasing rate.

A New Breed of Locks

Banks require many layers of protection, and this includes keycards, which allow select employees through specific doors at specific times. Just stick the card in a slot and the door opens (a common device also used in hotels).

Keycards are also used by extraneous service people. A lost card can be immediately turned off, and cheaply replaced, whereas traditional locks would cost a bundle.

Customized badges are another way that financial institutions have improved security measures, replacing keys and keycards. Employees can be “add onto” a badge, and a lost and found badge can be deactivated and activated, respectively.

Anti-Skimming Devices

Anti-skimming devices can significantly reduce this crime, when a thief puts a phony reader over an ATM device to capture a customer’s card data. The volume of skimming crimes is enormous, yet many ATMs still have no anti-skimming protection.

Cloud Storage for Data

More and more financial organizations are relying upon cloud computing, though this technology also brings with it some concerns, since the cloud involves a third-party provider—which can turn bank data over to the government without the bank’s permission.

A way around this is for the bank to encrypt data prior to placing it in a cloud, and to keep encrypting it even when at rest, and retain the encryption keys.

Biometrics

Fingerprint swiping to withdraw money is one of the latest security tactics: multispectral imaging (MSI). Who can possibly “skim” that? This is biometric technology and is already in thousands of ATMs. This “inner fingerprint” is immune to breakdown from grime, wear or moisture, making it very tamper resistant.

Look for even more progress in the multilayered security of financial institutions in the years to come—technologies that right now we can’t even comprehend. 

For more information about this shifting industry, visit:

securitymagazine.com/articles/print/85356-banking-battlegrounds-cyber-and-physical-security-risks-today

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to AllClearID. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video. Disclosures.

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