Ransomware: A Growing Threat in the Financial Services Industry

The financial services industry has long been a target for cybercriminals hoping to access the sensitive and valuable information they hold. The majority (56%) of data breaches come from external threat actors with 96% of all breaches financially motivated, according to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report.

Recently, ransomware has emerged as a growing threat to the financial services industry, with Microsoft reporting “a massive growth trajectory for ransomware and extortion”. They also report that the financial and insurance sector sits in the top 3 most targeted industries for ransomware attacks.

Ransomware attacks can be devastating both financially and to an organisation’s reputation. Ransomware is a malicious type of software that blocks an organisation or user’s access to their data by encrypting it until a ransom is paid. These attacks target businesses of all sizes and can be extremely lucrative for cybercriminals. In May 2021 it was reported that CNA Financial, one of the USA’s largest insurance companies, paid an astonishing $40 million to recover their data after a ransomware attack.

How to defend against ransomware in the financial services industry

Adopt the Zero Trust philosophy

Cybersecurity is essential for businesses of all sizes to mitigate the risk of a cyberattack. The best defence against ransomware is a robust security set up based on the three pillars of cybersecurity – Zero Trust, least privilege and assume breach.

  • Zero Trust – to never trust anyone and always ask them to verify their identity
  • Least privilege – once verified, to only provide them access to the things they absolutely need, and only for the minimum amount of time required
  • Assume breach – to always assume that any protection will fail, through either user error or system fault

These pillars make up the Zero Trust philosophy which is fundamental to a solid defence. In fact, 96% of security professionals see it as critical to their organisation’s success.

Use Microsoft’s security toolset

Microsoft’s extensive security suite has all the tools you need to maintain the security of your organisation. From Microsoft Sentinel for monitoring your environment to Microsoft Defender for Endpoint to secure users’ devices, Microsoft has the tools you need to keep your data secure end-to-end.

Reduce your risk

Microsoft recommends limiting the scope of the damage and working to remove security risks as top priorities for anyone looking to reduce their risk of a ransomware attack. Limit the scope of the damage and make it harder for attackers to access multiple essential systems by establishing the Zero Trust method in your security set up. Then, work to remove the security risks that may leave you vulnerable, starting with implementing Multifactor Authentication (MFA) to keep user devices secure.

Keep your systems and data secure

Cybersecurity is a continuously evolving challenge, as cybercriminals develop new, more sophisticated ways to gain access to valuable data. To stay ahead of the threat, organisations need security experts at their side maintaining and perfecting their defences.

Our Managed Security Service is built on the core principles of Zero Trust, informed by the latest threat intelligence to stay ahead of emerging risks. Our experts work proactively to close vulnerabilities and continuously improve your security posture with 24×7 support, so you can be confident in your security.

Security guidance tailored to your requirements

Take advantage of Microsoft funded workshops for in-depth guidance from our security experts. Explore Microsoft’s extensive security toolset, analyse current threats and create a strategic security plan to protect and govern your organisation’s data. Get actionable next steps to improve your security posture and put your questions to our experts so you walk away with the insights you need.

Ransomware protection for customers in financial services

We partnered with Blue Coast Capital, a large asset management company who were looking to improve their overall security posture and ensure all sensitive company data was kept safe. They were looking for a security partner they could trust to proactively protect their systems and data from cyberattacks, 24/7.

The team at Blue Coast Capital opted for our Managed Security Service for complete peace of mind. Their environment was aligned to our Secure By Design blueprint, which includes detection, prevention and mitigation of security threats while proactively searching for potential vulnerabilities and resolving them. It’s a culture of comprehensive protection and continuous improvement.

In 2021 alone, our teams managed more than 2,000 security-related events including six critical vulnerabilities impacting businesses worldwide – successfully protecting Blue Coast Capital from potential breaches.

“Having this reliability was one of the main deciding factors in adopting the MSS, as we knew we could rely on Transparity to provide us with the best possible service… [I] would highly recommend Transparity Managed Security Service to any companies looking to enhance their security, and feel safe knowing Transparity MSS is protecting the infrastructure 24 hours a day.”

Amrit Bansal – IT Manager at Blue Coast Capital

The next step in protection from ransomware for businesses in financial services

The threat of ransomware in financial services is growing and evolving, as cybercriminals develop their methods and become more effective in targeting financial data. While the risk is significant, it can be dramatically reduced through robust security measures and consistent security hygiene.

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