4 Biggest Cyber Security Threats For Indian Banking Sector; 3 Ways We Can Stop Them Right Now

4 Biggest Cyber Security Threats For Indian Banking Sector; 3 Ways We Can Stop Them Right Now
4 Biggest Cyber Security Threats For Indian Banking Sector; 3 Ways We Can Stop Them Right Now

This is a Guest Post by Ujwal Ratra, Chief Operating Officer, Astra Security

Cybersecurity breaches continue to grow in India in terms of frequency and sophistication for all industries, and the financial sector is especially the most vulnerable. Financial services firms succumb to cybersecurity attacks time and again, more often than organizations in other industries. A breach in security leads to loss of data and earnings for a banking institution, disruptions in operations, loss of reputation along with loss of customers.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also corroborated that in the post Covid-19 lockdown period, there has been an increased incidence of cyber threats against the banking industry. The central bank underscored that the banking industry is the target of choice for cyber-attacks.

Here is a closer look at cyber threats in the banking arena.

Identity theft?

The banking frauds in India have grown in numbers as well in size. According to RBI’s annual report for 2019-20, the amount involved in banking frauds grew 2.5 times to Rs 1.85 lakh crore in 2019-20 compared with Rs 71,500 crore in 2018-19. Identity theft is the utilization of a person’s personal and/or financial data without their approval with the motive of conducting a concealed fraud. A privacy breach in a bank can also lead to the information of the bank’s customers being sold or purchased on the dark web by other cybercriminals.

Third-Party Services that Aren’t Secure

Several banks and financial establishments make use of third-party services from other merchants to provide better service to their customers. Nonetheless, if those outsider merchants don’t have great cyber security set up, your bank could be the one that endures. It’s essential to understand how you can shield your financial institution from the potential security threats due to the integration of third-party solutions or services in your infrastructure.


Spoofing is relatively a newer type of cyber security threat wherein the hackers find a way to imitate a financial institutions’ website’s URL with a website that looks and functions the same. When customers enter their login data in an impersonated website, that data is then taken by the cybercriminals  to be utilized later. All the more concerning is the fact that with the new spoofing techniques, the hackers do not use a slightly different but similar URL through which they are able to target users who visited the correct URL.


Ransomware is a kind of malware that scrambles information, making it inconceivable for the proprietors of that information to get to it except if they pay a heavy expense. Even though ransomware has cost organizations more than $75 billion every year in harm, it remains one of the widely recognized types of cyberattacks. Banks stay top targets for ransomware attacks.

Ways to curb the cyber attacks in the banking industry –

The core internet banking system is a mission-critical component of any bank’s revenue and business operations. Its failure, breach, or unavailability could lead to transaction delays for thousands of customers or even land a massive sensitive data exposure. No bank can afford such upheaval. Thus, keeping these systems secure and running is crucial to the bank’s sustainability.

The internet banking system works through a wide set of applications, networking devices, internet service providers, and many other entities. All of these are potential entry points for attackers. 

However, the internet-facing applications are the primary targets of the cyber attackers who aspire to bypass them and obtain unauthenticated access to sensitive data of the bank and its customers. These critical internet-facing applications of a bank can be either web or mobile applications. 

Hence, it is pivotal for a bank to build a security system that curbs all such security trespasses and upholds data security and integrity of the organization. 

While it is not to be argued that banks share the larger responsibility here, some onus of security of a customer’s financial information falls on themselves as well. Following basic security protocols and being vigilant while transacting can ward off most foul advancements that may come their way.

Moving on. Here are some ways banks and financial institutions can safeguard themselves:

Get a security solution: Monitoring every transaction/traffic request manually for possible security threats can get tedious and impractical in the long run. Banks must strive to automate all scanning and monitoring processes with a website firewall that filters & blocks malicious traffic at the entry door. Therefore, nipping the problem in the bud. 

An ideal firewall is the one that detects and stops all raging attacks of the time. In addition, it must also track patterns of attacks targeted on the organization specifically and watch out for those as well. A security solution should also be easy to configure and customize. And the reporting and analysis is easy to comprehend for an average business professional.

Audit the application: Almost always a cyber attack is traced back to some open vulnerability or loophole in your own system. To maintain a vulnerability-free application, you must focus equally on internal threats as you do on the external ones. 

Development bugs, missing security rules, mis-configured systems, outdated extensions are some of the most common security vulnerabilities noticed in organizations. 

A full-fledged security audit done once every while is necessary to identify the vulnerable systems in the lot. Vulnerability assessments detect lagging infrastructure on the security front and bring them back in security order. Penetration Tests, on the other hand, test the tensity of your security system in a real-life attack situation with simulated cyber attacks and thus make for a component of a full VAPT.

Abide by the compliance rules: Regulatory bodies have been built to guide operations of online businesses. While some rules are universal to all organizations, financial institutions do have to abide by more than just one set of rules. Being aware of these implications and sticking by it is another way banks can repel hackers. PCI-DSS, GDPR, AMLD5, PSD2, are some of the popular compliance rules that surround financial institutions.

There are plenty more security measures that one can take, however, the ones listed above are the absolute unskippable ones. In order to protect them against cyber attacks, banks should implement robust and impenetrable security solutions to ensure that the processing data via these applications must remain confidential and untampered.

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