How fintechs can combat the growing ransomware threat

Ransomware is one of the industry’s most pressing cybersecurity problems. Criminals exploit vulnerabilities within internal systems to gain access to an organisation and keep it hostage, holding out that the company will pay a ransom. For the criminals, it can be an easy payday – but what can fintechs and financial institutions do to stave off the threat?

We asked James Derbyshire, browser isolation expert at Garrison.

Can you tell us how much of a threat ransomware poses to the industry?

Ransomware poses a growing threat to the fintech and wider financial services sector, with 64% of financial institutions globally already hit by an attack in 2023. The fintech industry is projected to continue its growth to become a US$1.5tn industry by 2030, which is making it a particularly attractive target amongst cybercriminals looking for significant financial gain. Despite handling the same valuable financial data as traditional banks and financial services, the digital-centric interconnectivity and international scale of fintech businesses can render them more vulnerable to attack.

Ransomware attacks, which work by locking away critical company data until a ransom is paid, have increased exponentially over the past decade. And the effects can be devastating. Victim companies not only have to contend with a costly ransom, but due to the ability of the malware to conceal key data, systems and networks, may also find themselves unable to operate. Inaccessible services combined with potential breaches of personal and financial customer data can irreparably impact a fintech’s reputation with customers, leading to significant revenue loss.

The fintech sector is increasingly integrated with the traditional financial services industry, and this integration is expected to increase over the coming years. It is possible, therefore, that the security gaps within fintechs can be exploited to compromise other financial institutions with whom they do business. It’s no surprise that almost three quarters of traditional banks consider data security in fintech to be a priority concern.

How big a factor is human vulnerability in ransomware risk?

Before looking at possible solutions, it is important…