Prevention, Detection and Response: The First Line of Defense

January 15th, 2015Financial Industry Insights


Cyber-attacks are ramping up at a feverish clip, causing banks and financial institutions to fortify their guard on preventing attacks faster than ever. At the same time, banks are cautiously mulling over their decision on how to allocate their investments between prevention, detection, and response strategies. But what does it take to develop a robust security strategy amid rising scale and increasing frequencies of cyber-attacks? What can security experts do to prevent attacks on bank networks and systems? What happens when hackers infiltrate networks and gain access to sensitive data and information?

In today’s hyper-connected world, it is critical for banks to minimize their attack surface, such as restricting entry points to users and therefore minimizing the risk of fraud in the first place. This, of course, is the most critical element and by far the number one order of any business. Secondly, banks need to have a robust detection framework in place, so that attackers can’t bypass them and download at their will without triggering an alarm. Thirdly, a strong response system is required to limit any reputational and economic damage and maintain customer comfort.

As with most things, prevention is better than a cure, especially when it comes to warding off advanced and carefully designed cyber-attacks. After all, preventive security is far more economical than settling claims and damages to the brand, customer trust, and subsequent sales. A case in point is the recent major cyberattack on JPMorgan Chase that compromised the contact information of 76 million households and seven million small businesses. The hackers reportedly gained access through the personal computer of an employee who was working from home. Clearly, this type of data breach is an impending alarm for banks about a “weak human link in IT security” that puts strain on the security protocol.

So apart from being constantly vigilant, what can be done to contain such attacks? How can banks step up their cyber security practices to ensure that prevention remains their first line of defense?

Securing the Weak Link – Unlimited access to data and assets can impact the safety of the network environment, leaving the door open for intentional or accidental breaches. A role-based, proactive solution can allow you to be more selective and provide more tightly controlled access. This means eliminating opportunities for anyone to gain access to data and assets beyond what they are specifically entitled.

Cloak Your Endpoints – Cloaking endpoints and sensitive information would mean eliminating the threat of locating them on the bank network. The cloaking strategy is based on the idea that by hiding all endpoints completely from attackers, for example making transactions invisible to anyone who doesn’t have authorized access to it, there is no vector to target.

Stronger Authentication Measures – Biometrics such as facial recognition, voice authentication, or iris scans are set to become a norm for authenticating transactions. As a step toward putting more robust and stronger preventive measures, banks must adopt a holistic approach to security and move beyond traditional measures like PINs and passwords. Banks can go one step further and use advanced data cloaking and encryption techniques that render devices, data, servers, and end users undetectable on the network.

Understandably, fraudsters continue to devise new techniques to target the weakest links in enterprise security. Today’s cyber-attacks have gotten more dynamic and far more sophisticated, making prevention even harder; however, that doesn’t mean it’s time to forsake prevention. Banks and financial institutions need to look at modern, real-time fraud prevention technologies across multiple channels. After all, it is always better to have a robust preventive layer of defense in place than to deal with the consequences. 


Tags-   Banks Biometrics Breach Prevention Cloaking