Money isn’t your most important asset – Trust is

Financial Institutions are prime targets for Magecart and other cyber attacks. One reason is the fact that they go through massive digital transformation and handle a high volume of transactions, assets and sensitive data. Today more than ever before, more people handle their financial transactions online. These same people expect their trusted financial advisors and their online experience to be secure, private, and consistent each and every time. 

A Financial Institution’s business model is based on trust. There is nothing more critical to Financial Institutions than the security of their sensitive customer data, not only because it’s expected by their customers but also because they operate in a highly regulated industry. Attackers can destroy relationships, violate trust and introduce doubt with amazing speed and precision.

Given the digital transformation the financial industry is undergoing, user experience and a feature-rich website are very important. Websites in the industry, therefore, rely on an ever-expanding ecosystem of 3rd party suppliers to enhance and personalize user experience, increase engagement, track their customers’ journey and behaviors, monitor transaction completion and so on. These 3rd party tools offer great benefits, but also provide attackers with an attractive gateway for malicious activities such as formjacking, Magecart, JS Skimming and more. Malicious code may be injected into your website or run in end-users’ browsers without their knowledge. Through banking trojans or web supply chain attacks, fraudsters tamper with transactions and steal sensitive user data. Unfortunately, this means that the more such tools are used, the more risks financial websites take upon themselves. Instead of hacking the websites themselves, hackers often attack the 3rd party plugins and use their Javascript to hitchhike onto the website. Checking the security perimeter of any Financial Institution website is simply not enough. A website is affected by the security perimeter of all of the 3rd party tools it uses. Moreover, it has no control over what’s happening outside the 3rd party circle: there are 4th, 5th and 6th party circles that most website owners are not even aware of. 

The cost of cyberattacks is highest in the financial industry, reaching $18.3 million annually, per company. Successful attacks on banks and financial institutions are the most costly of all, not only because of the financial losses but also because these breaches erode user trust.

Average Annualized Cost by Industry Sector

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There are many different types of attacks aimed at Financial Institutions websites:

  • Payment card skimming
  • Keylogging
  • Form field manipulation
  • Web injection
  • Phishing
  • Content defacement
  • Clickjacking
  • Malware and ransomware distribution
  • Watering hole attacks

Formjacking is The New #1 Threat

Formjacking and Magecart attacks can be very wide-ranged and affect millions of people at once, or they can be highly targeted and affect a very specific group of people. This is also one of the reasons why they are so difficult to detect.

The major implications of such attacks include:

Compliance:

People’s personal data is just that – personal. When a financial institution fails to protect it from loss, damage or theft it is more than an inconvenience. That’s why laws and regulations are very clear – when you are entrusted with personal data you must look after it. Every website in the financial landscape is required to meet certain standards in order to be considered “in compliance,” and fines can be levied against a business or its owner if they fail to comply. 

Financial solvency:

If breached, a business has a whole host of other problems that will impact its bottom line. This usually involves hiring additional personnel to investigate the breach, stop it, and prevent it from happening in the future. It may have to pay for a forensic investigation, data recovery services, credit monitoring for impacted parties, and more.

Customer trust:

Financial Institutions invest a lot of resources in expanding their customer base, and even more in retaining existing customers. This is because they know that these customers can easily leave: a data breach is an easy way to convince customers to go elsewhere, where their credit card information, address, or other sensitive data will be secure. Surveys reveal that 64% of consumers confess to be unlikely to do business again with a company from which their personal data was stolen.

Customers put a lot of trust in the online financial services they transact with, providing them with personal data and sensitive payment information with every transaction. Earning customers’ trust is critical for maintaining a long-lasting relationship, and once lost, earning it back is a very difficult task. 

Damage to brand reputation:

To protect the brand and ensure a safe browsing experience, financial institutions must establish and maintain a strong website security posture. Reputation is a fragile thing – it takes years to build, and moments to destroy. When a breach occurs, the target audience feels betrayed and angry. The initial cost can be seen in the form of lawsuits, but there is a far greater cost that can last years. Furthermore, this can negatively affect the business reputation of each person on the executive team and hinder their future endeavors. Stocks drop, the team is affected, and revenues plummet. Unlike a fine, which can be paid and forgotten, reputation cannot be fixed so easily.

ABOUT SOURCE DEFENSE

Source Defense  helps Financial Institutions balance superb customer experience alongside critical security, without compromising website performance or stability. We use real-time JavaScript sandboxing technology to create virtual pages that isolate the 3rd party scripts from the website. The virtual pages are an exact replica of the original pages, excluding what the 3rd parties are not supposed to see. We monitor all 3rd party script activities on the virtual pages. If the activity is within the premise of what they are allowed to do, we will transfer it from the virtual page to the original one. If not, we will keep their activity on the virtual pages isolated from the user and send a report to the financial website owner, alerting them of the 3rd party scripts that had violated their security policy. This real-time prevention eliminates the 3rd party’s ability to interact directly and maliciously with the page.

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