Breach Detection: Financial IT Pros Overdrawn on Confidence?

May 16, 2016 @ 12:45 PM
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2 min read

Data breaches are on the rise. As noted by The Wall Street Journal, network compromises are up nationwide, companies are taking longer to detect issues and organizations often rely on third parties to provide critical security information. Financial institutions are among the hardest hit as cybercriminals leverage increasingly sophisticated techniques to grab client data.

According to security firm Tripwire, however, there’s another problem: Financial IT professionals are overconfident when it comes to breach detection.

Solvent Security?

Without confidence in the program, any security effort fails. But as Information Security Buzz pointed out, financial IT pros may have given themselves too much credit for effective breach detection. While 87 percent said it would take only “minutes or hours” for security tools to detect key compromise indicators, 60 percent didn’t know or had only a “general idea” of how long it would take to remove an unauthorized device.

There’s more: Just 37 percent of automated tools could identify network devices with unapproved changes, yet 92 percent said their scanning systems would quickly generate an alert. That’s despite the fact that 77 percent can’t automatically discover one-fifth of all devices on their network.

According to Tripwire, two factors inspire this overconfidence: ignorance and a narrow focus. As noted above, many IT pros simply don’t know what kinds of threats and devices their system is — and isn’t — capable of detecting. In addition, financial data security often follows a check-the-box model that focuses on meeting specific compliance requirements.

The problem? Compliance isn’t the same as security; it’s a measure used to show due data diligence. As a result, it’s possible to satisfy all compliance demands and still leave networks open to attack.

Communal Confidence in Breach Detection

It’s worth noting, however, that financial IT professionals aren’t alone in their overconfidence. As noted by SC Magazine, while attacks on retail companies that target personally identifiable information (PII) have more than doubled in the last two years, organizations haven’t increased their adoption of breach detection solutions. In fact, 59 percent of those asked said current detection processes “were only partially or marginally implemented.”

Energy executives are also guilty of assuming better-than-average threat detection: While 41 percent of executives said they could detect all incoming cyberthreats, just 17 percent of non-execs made the same claim.

All of this is good news for cybercriminals. As a whole, companies are communally overconfident in their ability to stay ahead of data breaches. On paper, perhaps they can; checked boxes and a list of identified risks often make it seem as though network security is better than average.

When it comes to data protection, however, found threats aren’t the source of fear — what flies under the radar drives real risk. Compliance isn’t security, and misplaced confidence is a dangerous thing. It’s time to take a hard look at security blind spots.

Douglas Bonderud
Freelance Writer

A freelance writer for three years, Doug Bonderud is a Western Canadian with expertise in the fields of technology and innovation. In addition to working for...
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