Cyber Security Threats

506 words | 2 page(s)

With the necessity for greater effectiveness and efficiency in public as well as public enterprises being largely accomplished through integration of information technology and cyberspace operations, concerns for greater protection of cyberspace are indeed authentic. This involves taking various cyber security measures so as to counter pre-existing as well as potential cyber threats capable of disrupting or crippling operations of the nation”s infrastructure. Potential negative outcomes on critical infrastructure are highlighted by Michael McCaul, the chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security (2014) who acknowledges that “a successful cyber-attack on our nation”s water systems”mass transit systems on the scale of the recent retail breaches could cause crippling economic damage and could even cost lives”.

Banking and financial systems also represents a crucial critical infrastructure which Kuchler (2014) affirms has been continuously attacked “using financial Trojans, where a virus disguises itself as a legitimate piece of software” among other cyber threats like denial of service attacks. Through bank websites, automated clearing houses and payroll systems, the author further indicates that 1400 financial institutions were attacked in 2013, where motivations are indicated as stealing data or disruption of services with underground networks springing up to buy and sell vital information.

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Besides financial Trojans and denial of service attacks, Liu (2014), a technology Architect and a Sebastiaan Gybels, Risk Management Team Leader, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, identifies other cyber threats facing the banking and financial sectors/infrastructure. These include data leakage, ACH/payment corporate account takeover, third-party/cloud vendor risks and malware such as botnets, logic bombs, phising, spyware, worms, viruses and ransomware as well as various Mobile/web application vulnerabilities.

These had been previously reported by Snow (2011), the Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI”s) Cyber Division, who had also included Third Party Payment Processor Breaches, ATM Skimming and Point of Sale Schemes as well as Mobile Banking Exploitation. Malicious actors involved are identified in a cyber-report published by the British Bankers’ Association (2014) as including hackivists, nation states and criminal gangs. Potential vulnerabilities even necessitated issuance of an executive order, as a presidential policy directive (PPD); with PPD 21 including provisions of greater cyber security. Essentially, PPD 21 “advances a national unity of effort to strengthen and maintain secure, functioning and resilient critical infrastructure” including banking, which are central to provision of “essential services that underpin American society” (The White House, 2013).

  • British Bankers’ Association. (2014). The cyber threat to banking: A global industry challenge. London, U.K: British Bankers’ Association.
  • Committee on Homeland Security. (July 28, 2014). House passes bipartisan legislation to
    protect critical infrastructure from cyber-attack. Retrieved from http://homeland.house.gov/press-release/house-passes-bipartisan-legislation-protect-critical-infrastructure-cyber-attack
  • Kuchler, H. (August 31, 2014). Experts warn banks of more cyber attacks. The Financial Times. Retrieved from http://www.ft.com
  • Liu, Q. (2014). Cybersecurity: Part 1 – Demystifying Cyberthreats. The Federal Reserve System:
    Community Banking Connections. Retrieved from https://communitybankingconnections.org/articles/2014/q1/cybersecurity
  • Snow, G. M. (Sept. 14, 2011). Statement before the House Financial Services Committee,
    Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Washington, D.C. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Retrieved from http://www.fbi.gov/news/testimony/cyber-security-threats-to-the-financial-sector

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