Fraud and Theft are Just Part of the Cyber Security Equation With the Myriad of Cyber Threats Financial Institutions Face Today

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When it comes to landing in the crosshairs of cyber attackers, financial institutions have always proven to be tantalizing targets, and as a recent article in the Financial News revealed, it hasn’t changed. But, “Individuals or groups trying to get their hands on some actual cash are not the only threats on the radar, destruction and incapacitation attacks have become real migraine-makers for financial institutions as hacktivists and cyber warriors target their foundation and stability to achieve their goals,” says Bob Knudsen, Northeast Regional Manager for Global Digital Forensics (GDF) while discussing how GDF can help.

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The cyber security game is one game banks and other financial institutions cannot afford to lose

Today the weapons of choice are typically a keyboard and an Internet connection, allowing attackers to reach their targets from halfway around the world without ever even being seen

Banks and other financial institutions have never been strangers to being targets, the lure of easy money by stealing someone else’s horded treasure has always had that effect, whether it was raiders pillaging a King’s treasure room, or masked bandits on horseback holding up a bank in some dusty and long forgotten town in the old wild west. But like this recent article in the Financial News attests, today’s attackers don’t swing a sword or brandish a gun, and they don’t ride horses. Today the weapons of choice are typically a keyboard and an Internet connection, allowing attackers to reach their targets from halfway around the world without ever even being seen. But, “Money is not all they are after these days,” says the Northeast Regional Manager of Global Digital Forensics (GDF), “more and more attacks on financial institutions are bent on disruption and destruction.”

Too Much of a Good Thing

“Getting great Web traffic is supposed to be a good thing, and usually it is. That’s why organizations of all stripes and sizes spend a great deal of money every year on services and support providers that can improve their Web presence by increasing their page ranking on search engine returns, overall visibility, and most importantly, draw more Web traffic. Just by the law of averages, more traffic means more customers. But banks and other financial institutions have a bigger stake in the game than just getting traffic, they rely on their sites to provide their customers actual services, like online banking to pay bills, monitor account activity, and a host of other possible conveniences meant to give their customers unfettered access and control over their money. For other financial institutions, the exchange and trading services that lie at the very heart of our financial industry may be the core of their business. Unfortunately, being the portal of access to real treasure in the real world also attracts a very diverse collection of ferocious cyber predators. In a nod to Shark Week, think of it like having a huge chum slick luring every big-nasty with teeth out of the dark depths and right up to the boat. In the cyber ocean, those big-nasties come with names like hacktivists, cyber terrorists, black hat hackers, and sometimes, insider threats. But unlike a typical cyber criminal who is just bent on fraud and/or theft by stealing customer PII (Personally Identifiable Information), access credentials or liquid funds, these new-age predators have different objectives, namely chaos and mayhem, to advance things like political or ideological agendas by making a statement with a show of power and control. And one of the most effective methods at their disposal is the DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, which is essentially overloading a site with so much junk Web traffic that it ceases to function properly, or at all, causing a costly “blackout” of services which denies their customers access to the financial services and access they’ve come to rely on. And that means upset customers and possibly the long lasting and also costly effects of lost trust and diminished integrity from the public’s perspective. That’s not even considering the worst-case-scenario of a massive attack that could shake the foundations of commerce and trade on a global scale if it disrupted the right institutions for a long enough period of time. So in reality, when it comes to Web traffic, there really can be too much of a good thing.”

Proactively Dealing with DDoS Attacks

“The good news is that DDoS attacks don’t have to first be endured before something can be done, GDF offers DDoS protection services that can be proactively implemented for always-on protection. Now there are other DDoS mitigation services out there, but in our experience, relying on any one-size-fits-all solution typically tends to fall short due to the ever evolving methods and techniques hackers use to launch effective DDoS attacks. Our systems puts real people in the loop, every one of them experts in dealing with DDoS attacks. So whether it’s a single individual using a script they purchased on a black market hacker site to launch an attack, an organized cyber ring employing millions of previously compromised computers, known as a botnet, to flood a site with traffic, or even an attack of foreign state-sponsored origin, when traffic surpasses pre-established parameters, our live DDoS experts will instantly be alerted to analyze the problem, determine the best course of action and apply the best techniques to mitigate the problem. All without ever letting the targeted site go down at all when any kind of burst of unexpected traffic is encountered. Our nodes and networks are also geographically dispersed for added functionality and reliability. Think of our DDoS solution as a content delivery system that stops any kind of DDoS attack in its tracks.”

DDoS protection is just one piece of the cyber security puzzle financial institutions have to deal with on a daily basis. With over two decades of diverse experience in the cyber security field, GDF can also assist with professional cyber threat assessments and comprehensive penetration testing, combatting APTs (Advanced Persistent Threats), 24/7 cyber incident emergency response to deal with cyber intrusions and data breaches, malicious payloads, social engineering threats, insider threats and even regulatory compliance issues. All it takes in one call to make professionally tailored cyber security a reality, so call GDF today.

*Global Digital Forensics is a recognized industry leader in the fields of computer forensics, electronic discovery (eDiscovery), cyber security and emergency incident response, with years of experience assisting clients in the government, banking, healthcare, education and corporate arenas. For a free consultation with a Global Digital Forensics specialist, call 1-800-868-8189 about tailoring a plan which will meet your unique needs. Emergency responders are also standing by 24/7 to handle intrusion and data breach emergencies whenever and wherever they arise. Time is critical if a cyber-incident has occurred, so don’t hesitate to get help. For more information, visit

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