Strategic Relevance: “Emerging Cybersecurity Trends (Third- party vendor) in BFSI Industry”

Strategic Relevance: “Emerging Cybersecurity Trends (Third- party vendor) in BFSI Industry”

Cybersecurity is a major concern for the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) industry due to involvement of sensitive and valuable data of customers, transactions and assets.  Emerging Cybersecurity Trends, particularly regarding third-party vendor threats, have become a critical focus area in the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats as the BFSI industry relies heavily on third-party vendors to provide various services, such as Customer services, policy underwriting\ printing, cloud computing, data analytics, payment processing. However, these vendors also pose significant cybersecurity risks, as they have access to the organization’s systems and data and may not follow the same security standards and protocols as the BFSI organization follows.

Below are the some of the emerging cybersecurity trends related to third-party vendor threats.

  • Ransomware: Rise of ransomware attacks, (Data encryption and ransom demand for its decryption). Ransomware attacks can target both the organization and its third-party vendors, disrupting their operations and compromising their data.
  • Supply Chain Attacks: The emergence of supply chain attacks, which involve compromising a trusted third-party vendor and using its access to infiltrate the organization’s network and systems. Supply chain attacks can be difficult to detect and prevent, as they exploit the trust relationship between the organization and its vendor.
  • Data Poisoning and Machine Learning Models: Increased use of AI & ML by both attackers and defenders. AI and ML can enhance the capabilities and sophistication of cyberattacks, such as phishing, fraud, and data theft, by generating realistic and personalized messages, impersonating legitimate users, and bypassing security controls. In 2024, data poisoning is anticipated to emerge as a significant threat to cloud-based machine learning models.

As organizations increasingly rely on external vendors, it becomes essential to identify, monitor, and mitigate the risks associated with these relationships. Here are some mitigation controls to handle emerging cybersecurity trends related to third-party vendor threats:

  • Risk Assessment: Conduct thorough risk assessments with periodic review to identify potential risks and threats.
  • Contractual Obligations: Clearly define each vendor’s responsibilities related to Data privacy, Security and Compliance requirements.
  • Data Sharing & Access Controls: Limit the data shared with third-party vendors to only what is necessary for their specific role.
  • Network Segmentation: Control network traffic between your organization and third-party vendors to prevent lateral movement.
  • Continuous Monitoring: Implement real-time alerts for suspicious behaviour or security incidents & regularly access security posture of Critical vendors.

Need to understand that third-party risks are dynamic and traditional due diligence methods may not capture evolving threats. Organizations must adopt a proactive approach to vendor risk management to safeguard against cybersecurity vulnerabilities to protect their operations.

Vivek Shankar
Vice President – IT Services
Max Life Insurance

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this feature article are of the author. This is not meant to be an advisory to purchase or invest in products, services or solutions of a particular type or, those promoted and sold by a particular company, their legal subsidiary in India or their channel partners. No warranty or any other liability is either expressed or implied.
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