Pub 3 2021 Issue 3

8 | HOMETOWN BANKER | HOMETOWNBANKER.ORG STRENGTHENING YOUR DEFENSES AGAINST EMERGING CYBER THREATS By Tyler Leet, CSI O ver the past year, cybercriminals have proven they are adept at taking advantage of the vulnerabilities stemming from changing work environments and increased usage of digital channels. As institutions continue navigating the risks and challenges of remote workforces, it is imperative to stay informed of existing and emerging cyber- crime trends. A variety of scams have made recent news, many of which op- portunistically seize upon pandemic-related topics. Your institu- tion must be prepared to recognize and mitigate evolving cyber threats, including: • SOCIAL ENGINEERING: We’ve seen a stark increase in social engineering campaigns as cybercriminals leverage the hardships of the pandemic, including increased levels of stress among employees. Many of these campaigns masquerade as being related to stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, or even vaccines. CSI’s 2021 Banking Priorities Executive Report revealed more than 80% of bankers identified some form of social engineering as the top cybersecurity threat of 2021. • RANSOMWARE: Once installed, ransomware locks out the authorized user and encrypts the available data to hold for ransom. Since ransomware attacks pose little risk to the hacker, provide a speedy payout for criminals, and are perpetuated with relative ease and anonymity, institutions should remain on high alert to identify and combat these attacks. Ransomware can be crippling for institutions, especially if regular data backups are not maintained. Because this type of malware continues to be an attractive method of extortion, incidents of ransomware are growing — along with the maliciousness and sophistication of attacks. • INCREASED SURFACE AREA FOR ATTACKS: Due to the size of today’s remote workforce, attackers are targeting home networks — which are typically much weaker than in-office networks — to gain access to corporate data. Employees’ personal devices are also often targeted, providing attackers with a base to operate from within home networks and allowing them to monitor or intercept secure traffic. • CREDENTIAL STUFFING ATTACKS: In this type of attack, botnets conduct brute-force password attacks using compiled