Busting Cyber Myths in the Financial Sector

With 88% of financial service organisations holding sensitive and personal data not to mention handling large sums of money on a daily basis it’s little surprise that they are major target for cyber criminals.

Unfortunately, there are a few cybersecurity myths that often hinder organisations operating in the financial services sector. We take a look at the most common.

1. We’re too small to be a target

One of the most common cyber myths and the most dangerous is where a business thinks that it’s too small to be a target for hackers. In reality, the size of an organisation matters little to a hacker.

With manual hacking becoming less common due to the increase in automated hacking tools and services most attacks aren’t directly targeted. Instead, these tools scan huge numbers of connected devices and servers as they seek a vulnerability that can be exploited.

In short, in doesn’t matter how big or small your organisation is. If you have vulnerabilities you will become a target.

Hackers seeking to breach a large organisation often do their homework and seek to take advantage of their supply chains.

Smaller businesses are a preferred way in as often, smaller means more vulnerable. By gaining a foothold on these smaller targets, attackers then have a readily available platform to go after the bigger targets which may well be their end goal.


2. We have the best tools they’re our silver bullet. We’re 100% safe

There have been many security vendors who have in the past claimed that their products are the silver bullet when it comes to cybersecurity and unfortunately some businesses have bought into the myth.

Having tools and products with all the bells and whistles in place may make you think you’re safe but in reality, nothing guarantees 100% security. Security experts and hackers have been in an arms race since the invention of the computer and the hackers are often one step ahead.

 A security product that promises the earth can be damaging in that it encourages the organisation using it to become complacent. Regular penetration tests, effective patch management and the implementation of security policies and employee training all still need to be adhered to if you’re to reduce the risks.

Organisations need to look at cybersecurity as a multifaceted issue and employ an approach to deal with the threat and risk it poses both in terms of technical and non-technical controls.


3. Cybersecurity? It’s the IT department’s problem

It’s all well and good having a CISO in place but without the buy-in of the wider business including the board, their effectiveness will be limited.

Cybersecurity is everyone’s problem, not just the often-overworked IT department.

From board level executives to junior staff – everyone has a continuous part to play in improving the cybersecurity posture of an organisation.  

A cyber-attack effects not just one department but the entire company. Financial services especially need to be aware of the reputational damage such a breach can create.

Why would anyone want you to manage their money if you can’t even protect your own?


4. We follow regulations, therefore we’re safe

Being compliant with regulations such as GDPR does NOT mean that your organisation is safe from cyber threats.

Being compliant with such regulations often comes down to a box-ticking exercise that often only has to be carried out once a year if that.  

Regulatory compliance if just a snapshot of a company’s security at a certain point in time.

Effective cybersecurity requires a continuous effort. Using tools such as CyberScore™ allows an organisation to regularly scan their networks and see their entire cybersecurity posture.

For more information on CyberScore™ visit - https://xqcyber.com/cyberscore


5. Security of our third-party service providers is their problem, not ours

More organisations than ever are embarking on digital transformation and utilising the services offered by third-party providers.

The financial industry, in particular, utilises a large number of different services that is often comprised of human resources firms, law firms and other outsourced services such as software providers and IT services. A breach in one of those could potentially allow a hacker to infiltrate your own systems via the backdoor.


Ensuring that your suppliers take cybersecurity seriously is a necessity in this increasingly interconnected world.

The myths above need to be treated as exactly that; myths.

There are still numerous organisations that unfortunately still believe them and if they’re operating in the financial sector, they will find themselves victims of cybercrime.

For Further Reading

Busting Cyber Myths: 'Protecting yourself is good enough'

Cost of cyber-attacks continue to increase

The most common Cybersecurity threats to the Financial Services Sector

Take Control with CyberScore™

Financial institutes can take control of their cybersecurity by using the award winning CyberScore™. CyberScore™ is an automated testing service that allows you to take control of your cybersecurity by detecting vulnerabilities and providing you with empirical evidence and Get-Well plans. The score itself also allows you to clearly demonstrate to the board simply where your organisation currently stands in terms of its cyber risk rating and security posture

XQ Cyber also offers a range of incident response and consultancy services such as Penetration Testing, Cyber Posture Assessments and Incident Response preparedness and testing.

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