How Financial Institutions Can Benefit from CyScope’s Bug Bounty Platform

The accelerated digitalisation and interconnection of the world over the past few years has led to the rapid development of new technologies, resulting in significant impacts to the financial sector. The digital transformation has changed the ways financial institutions operate over time and in parallel malicious actors have adapted their tactics to better suit the digital world. Risks are spreading across different businesses and technologies, diffusing traditional perimeters and forcing companies to advance, rethinking current models and implementing agile approaches to address cybersecurity from all possible angles.

Embracing the Digital Transformation

Physical banks and their systems are quickly being replaced by robust digital ecosystems that have rapidly transformed the financial sector’s operations. These technology-enabled innovations come with a mounting risk of cyber-attacks, resulting in a loss of $2.9 million every minute. A 2021 study demonstrated these risks by showing that attacks targeted at the financial sector increased by 238% between February and April 2020. Specifically, ransomware attacks increased ninefold and attempted wire fraud increased by 64% during the period. Additionally, social engineering, web application attacks, and misconfiguration represented 81% of breaches against the financial services sector. Cybersecurity now plays an essential role in defining the future of the sector, ensuring that consumers and businesses can leverage the benefits without the risks.

To minimise the potential for huge losses, both financially and reputationally, financial institutions need to implement effective security measures and monitor their increasingly complex attack surfaces on a regular basis. More and more, financial institutions are adopting bug bounty programs in response to the demand for better security measures, allowing them to identify vulnerabilities before a cyber-attack occurs. CyScope’s powerful platform leverages an international community of experienced pentesters to quickly discover high-risk vulnerabilities inside financial systems. Working with CyScope’s pool of trusted, vetted and experienced ethical hackers, financial institutions can rapidly bring their banks, insurance companies and other affiliates forward into the rapidly evolving digital age. The following section will examine how bug bounty programs can be best used.

Protecting valuable data

Historically, financial institutions have always been committed to protecting customer data and financial assets. Due to opportunistic cybercriminals’ interest in stealing this valuable data, threats are constantly evolving, which means the financial sector needs to stay vigilant. A bug bounty program can help financial institutions identify weaknesses in their defences, so that practical measures can be taken to prevent data breaches and financial fraud. Effective implementation depends upon employing ethical hackers who have extensive experience and skills. Trust among all stakeholders, including investors, customers and suppliers, is essential if business objectives are to be achieved. The use of a bug bounty program can demonstrate a financial institution’s commitment to ensuring data security.

 

Improving accountability

In this age of the neo banks and customer-centric fintech, speed of innovation can help financial institutions win customers and keep them happy. Aiming to develop, test, and release software faster, many financial institutions have adopted an agile development approach for online and mobile banking solutions. However, these agile approaches can increase friction between the security and development teams. Application development and deployment delays can result from what may be perceived as unnecessarily intrusive security mandates.

 

With developers expected to build and deploy apps faster than ever before, insecure applications are on the rise because of DevOps teams. Research from White Source reveals that 73% of developers sacrifice security for speed, and according to Osterman Research, they cut corners by knowingly releasing vulnerable applications. If developers lack the necessary tools, skills, motivation, and time required to build secure applications, it is evident that more support is needed to ensure that security is properly addressed. A bug bounty program can help organisations determine the financial impact of security vulnerabilities based on facts. By holding development teams and service providers accountable for delivering secure products, it addresses inherent security gaps within the business units and so drives continuous improvement.

Implementing security awareness training for developers, especially those who review and control bug bounty reports, can significantly improve their security awareness. Exchanging information with ethical hackers, learning from their perspectives, and demonstrating the exploitation of vulnerabilities early in the development process, helps ensure that a security mindset is maintained and ongoing learnings are realized.

Get more return on your investment

A CISOs’ ability to create value for the organization will determine 30% of their effectiveness according to Gartner. By enhancing efficiency, CISOs need to stretch their security budget’s resources while demonstrating business value. A bug bounty program can provide significant benefit in this area. Comparing bug bounty with conventional penetration testing, it can provide a faster, wider reaching result, with a measurable return on investment, since companies only pay out when their vulnerabilities are found.

 

A bug bounty program also affords business owners access to hundreds of ethical hackers, each with their own skill set, rather than having a single experienced researcher testing their network. In contrast to the time and effort required to discover vulnerabilities, the results-driven approach is designed to ensure that you only pay for vulnerabilities which pose a threat to your organization. 

Bug bounty programs can also uncover vulnerabilities across a variety of attack surfaces. To help organizations identify and resolve vulnerabilities faster, this approach provides priority vulnerabilities and instant remediation advice during discovery and resolution. The bug bounties’ nature means they will continue to uncover vulnerabilities over a longer duration, beyond the usual pentesting timescales. In financial institutions whose applications need to be continuously updated and rolled out, this is critical.

The cornerstone to a successful security programme

As demonstrated by recent data breaches, financial institutions face an increasing risk from cyber threats. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, these risks have further increased, especially with almost all banks being forced to shift to a remote working environment, widening the attack landscape still more. As a modern-day cybersecurity solution capable of tackling the security challenges faced by financial institutions, bug bounty programs should be viewed as a cornerstone of their security strategies. They can demonstrate a financial institution’s commitment to data protection and security for their clients and stakeholders, as well as reducing the risk of monetary losses resulting from regulatory actions.

Permanent protection of assets

Legacy banks and new challengers have to guarantee complete security of data and systems with decreased budgets, just as they have to manage the challenges of mass cloud migrations, new security threats of remote work, and keeping up with the rapid changes in the industry.

Cyscope offers a logical and complementary solution to boost secure development and pentesting processes, as it allows financial institutions to identify the security level of their technological assets quickly and accurately. The intuitive and flexible platform offers a broad portfolio of security solutions, backed by a community of hackers continuously available to test financial systems and their assets.


  1. https://www.riskiq.com/resources/infographic/evil-internet-minute-2019/
  2. https://news.vmware.com/releases/modern-bank-heists-threat-report-from-vmware-carbon-black-finds-dramatic-increase-in-cyberattacks-against-financial-institutions-amid-covid-19
  3. https://www.verizon.com/business/en-gb/resources/reports/dbir/