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Top Five Cyber Security Threats to Digital Banking and How to Guard Against Them

Top Five Cyber Security Threats to Digital Banking and How to Guard Against Them

Cybercrime is becoming more prevalent as the world becomes increasingly digitized. Unfortunately, banks remain one of the biggest targets for cyberattacks for the huge amount of sensitive client data that they hold and the potential financial gain these malicious people stand to get should attacks be successful. Now that banks are increasingly moving to the digital space to serve the customers better, a need to be proactive in combating cybersecurity threats is paramount. Moreover, the fight starts with understanding what sort of threats exist and how to stay guard against them. Let’s delve into five of these threats, including practical ways that financial institutions can protect themselves against them.


Malware attacks involve malicious software injected into devices, servers or networks. Malware can come in the form of worms, viruses, spyware, ransomware, Trojans and more. If a customer’s device is infected with malware, it poses a threat to a bank’s digital network if it is used to connect to the network. Additionally, if a customer carries out an online bank transaction on his or her foreign currency account, the malware can steal the credentials and cause more harm.

Protecting digital banking systems from malware starts with blocking these attacks using reliable antiviruses and runtime application self-protection (RASP) solutions. Additionally, implementing two-factor authentication and behavioral authentication protects the users even if the attacker manages to steal the credentials. Moreover, creating awareness among users and educating them on digital banking best practices can help.

Third-party services

Financial institutions employ the services of third-party vendors in a bid to serve the customers better. Unfortunately, if the vendors involved lack strong cybersecurity measures, an attack to their systems can rein havoc to the banks’ digital banking systems. What can banks do to protect themselves against this threat?

Conduct due diligence to ensure that third-party vendors meet the stability and standards needed to keep providing the services without risking the bank’s system. Additionally, banks should conduct 3rd party risk assessment on a regular basis, with emphasis on anytime there are changes to the bank’s infrastructure. It is also important to ensure that the vendors’ cybersecurity measures align with the bank’s.


In phishing attacks, hackers contact bank customers through emails, calls or SMSs pretending to be representatives of the bank with the aim of stealing login credentials, credit card information among other sensitive data. This kind of attack is highly successful since everything appears legit and reputable, which makes it difficult to detect. What’s worse, scammers have invented new ways that target banks rather than individuals such as whaling and spear-phishing.

Digital banking services providers can protect against phishing attacks by data analytics and machine learning to detect fraud, then reporting attempts to security authorities. Moreover, investing in educating their customers on good digital practices, using customer behavior profiles to detect unusual behavior and implementing two-factor authentication can go a long way in protecting the customers.


Spoofing is more like phishing, only that hackers impersonate the banking website URL. They provide the customers with a website that functions and looks like the real one. When a customer logs in the fake website, the hackers get hold of the credentials and use them later.

Spoofing attacks are difficult to prevent, but banks can prevent the scammers from accessing their customers’ accounts. A great way to do this is implementing a two-factor authentication where information only known to the customer is required to access the account.

Remote work associated risks

Remote work is a growing trend in the world of work. While it presents numerous benefits to the workers and organizations alike, it removes the devices used from the protection of the organization’s cybersecurity measures. For digital banking services providers, this translates to increased vulnerability on customer sensitive data.

Training employees on how to keep their devices and themselves safe from cyberattacks when working remotely can prevent Cybersecurity risks associated with remote work. This can include using VPNs, being vigilant of phishing attacks, not sharing their work devices with others and more.


As financial transactions increasingly move online, cyberattacks have started to rise. Digital banking services providers have a task to continue providing the best services while protecting the customers from malicious attacks. Being aware of the top attacks in the sector helps banks gain proactivity in fighting them. Focusing on the cyberattacks highlighted here and measures to prevent them is crucial to any financial institution’s cybersecurity strategy.

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