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5 Common Cyber Attacks: Know What They Are and How to Protect Yourself

Posted by Kanika Sinha

January 12, 2024

 A definitive handbook on minimizing risk in the digital age.

A recent study by Sophos, a security software and hardware company, reveals that ransomware attacks on financial services increased to 64% in 2023, almost double the 34% reported in 2021. 

Another report by IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute suggests that the average cost of a data breach reached an all-time high of $4.45 million in 2023. The report also notes that the financial sector experienced average data breach costs of $5.90 million in the year.

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Given these statistics, the financial service sector in 2024 faces significant challenges in the form of cyberattacks and data breaches. To survive against these formidable odds, firms need a robust cybersecurity strategy. 

This article outlines the seven most common cyber attacks and prevention tips.

1. Phishing 

This cyberattack involves using email, SMS, phone calls, social media, and social engineering techniques to trick victims into disclosing sensitive information or downloading malicious content that can infect their devices.

How to prevent it:

  • Train staff adequately to identify suspicious emails, links, and websites, and know to refrain from entering information or downloading files from untrustworthy sites. 
  • Download add-ons that can help recognize malicious websites.
  • Create a backup on an external hard drive or in the cloud to secure financial data and other sensitive records.

2. Denial of service attack (DoS)

It is an intentional attack that aims to overload a company’s network or website with fake requests, making it inaccessible to its intended users.

How to prevent it:

  • Implement robust network infrastructure with firewalls and intrusion detection systems. 
  • Utilize traffic filtering and rate-limiting mechanisms. 
  • Use content delivery networks to distribute traffic. 
  • Regularly update and patch systems to fix vulnerabilities. 
  • Set up strong authentication and access controls. 
  • Educate employees about safe browsing practices.
  • Develop an incident response plan to mitigate attacks swiftly.

3. Insider threats

These cybersecurity threats originate with authorized users. As a result, it is necessary to ensure that employees, contractors, and business partners cannot misuse their legitimate access or exploit their position to compromise the security and integrity of data, systems, or assets. 

How to prevent it:

  • Conduct thorough background investigations and reference checks before hiring new personnel. 
  • Limit employees’ privileges to only what they need. 
  • Implement strict access controls.
  • Regularly monitor and analyze user behavior to detect anomalies. 
  • Educate employees about cyber security risks, emphasizing the importance of confidentiality and reporting suspicious activities. 
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4. Supply chain attacks

Also known as a third-party attack, a supply chain attack involves using third-party tools or services to infiltrate an organization’s system or network. These cyber-attacks can seriously threaten financial institutions, often connecting with other entities such as vendors, service providers, banks, and insurance companies.

How to prevent it:

  • Use malware prevention.
  • Run a third-party risk assessment.
  • Implement zero trust security for continuous validation and monitoring inside the network.
  • Adopt browser isolation.

5. Ransomware

During a ransomware attack, cybercriminals lock users out of their computer devices by encrypting them with malware. They then demand a ransom payment to restore access. 

How to prevent it:

  • Install the latest spam protection software.
  • Train your employees to identify malicious emails and websites.
  • Implement a firm password policy in your organization.
  • Use multi-factor authentication for those accessing sensitive data.
  • Keep software patched and up-to-date.
  • Regularly monitor the network for malicious activity.

The final word

As technology advances, so do the methods and tactics of cybercriminals. Use the above guide to understand the financial industry cyber threats and implement proactive measures to safeguard against evolving risks.

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Want to know more about startups and what it takes to get started? Since 2006, Escalon has helped thousands of startups get off the ground with our back-office solutions for accounting, bookkeeping, taxes, HR, payroll, insurance, and recruiting — and we can help yours, too. Talk to an expert today.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. Escalon and its affiliates are not providing tax, legal or accounting advice in this article. If you would like to engage with Escalon, please contact us here.


Kanika Sinha
Kanika Sinha

Kanika is an enthusiastic content writer who craves to push the boundaries and explore uncharted territories. With her exceptional writing skills and in-depth knowledge of business-to-business dynamics, she creates compelling narratives that help businesses achieve tangible ROI. When not hunched over the keyboard, you can find her sweating it out in the gym, or indulging in a marathon of adorable movies with her young son.

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