Top 5 Most Devastating Breaches in the Financial Sector
You may think your money is safe wherever you’ve kept it – but are you aware that cybercriminals are actively targeting the financial sector. The frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks have been increasing, with the financial industry being one of the primary targets. Cybercriminals are after sensitive information, financial assets, and personal data. They aim to steal, manipulate or compromise data for financial gain.
It's crucial for companies within the financial sector to take proactive measures to prevent breaches and protect their valuable data. As the financial industry continues to digitise and move towards online platforms, it is crucial to learn from major breaches in recent years:
Bangladesh Bank Heist:
In 2016, the Bangladesh Bank was the target of one of the biggest cyber heists in history. Cybercriminals stole $81 million from the bank's account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, using fraudulent SWIFT messages to transfer funds to accounts in the Philippines and Sri Lanka. The incident highlighted the importance of implementing proper cybersecurity measures to prevent unauthorized access to financial systems. The hackers responsible were linked to the North Korean government, with the US government later identifying them as members of the Lazarus Group.
Capital One Breach:
In 2019, Capital One Financial Corporation suffered a massive data breach that exposed the personal information of over 100 million customers and applicants. The breach was caused by a misconfigured firewall, which allowed a hacker to access the company's AWS servers and steal sensitive data. The hacker was later identified as Paige Thompson, a former Amazon Web Services employee, who was arrested and charged with computer fraud and abuse. The incident highlighted the importance of implementing proper security controls and monitoring for cloud-based systems.
Rural Bank of New Zealand:
In 2020, the Rural Bank of New Zealand suffered a cybersecurity breach that resulted in the exposure of sensitive customer data. The bank discovered that hackers had gained access to their email server and were able to intercept and read emails containing customer information. The bank quickly implemented security measures to contain the breach, and the attackers were later identified as the FIN7 group, a notorious cybercrime group that specializes in stealing financial data.
In 2014, JPMorgan Chase experienced a data breach that affected 76 million households and 7 million small businesses. The hackers gained access to names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of the bank's customers. The bank later confirmed that no sensitive financial data such as account numbers or social security numbers were stolen. The FBI eventually linked the attack to Russian hackers who were allegedly supported by the Russian government.
In 2017, Equifax, one of the largest credit reporting agencies in the US, announced a data breach that affected approximately 147 million customers. The hackers accessed sensitive personal information such as names, birth dates, social security numbers, and in some cases, driver's license numbers. The breach also compromised the credit card numbers of about 209,000 customers. The company faced intense scrutiny and criticism for its handling of the breach and eventually settled with the Federal Trade Commission for up to $700 million in penalties and compensation to affected consumers.
As cyberattacks become increasingly sophisticated, it's crucial for companies within the financial sector to take proactive measures to prevent breaches. Investing in cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls, encryption, and regular security audits, can significantly reduce the risk of cyberattacks. Take action to secure your company's digital infrastructure by implementing cybersecurity measures and conducting regular security audits. Don't wait until it's too late to protect your valuable customer data and financial information.