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Looking for a Long Term Fix for Heartbleed

Banks need to start extending some of their customer-facing security solutions and protocols to their own internal networks.

Saying that there isn’t one quick fix or silver bullet solution for cyber security concerns has become common practice in financial services. The cyber fraud landscape is growing more complex and sophisticated, requiring a multi-layered approach to security that includes front end authentication and back-end monitoring and analytics.

Now that the Heartbleed vulnerability has been added to banks’ growing list of cyber security concerns, it’s time that banks start taking a similar multi-layered approach to their own networks, says Terry Austin CEO of Guardian Analytics, a fraud analytics solutions provider.

“As a security professional, you can’t trust authentication and malware protection anymore, because criminals can get into the network and look like legitimate users now with authentication credentials and access to your network,” Austin remarks.

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Looking for criminals simply isn’t enough anymore, and instead need to focus on analyzing user behavior and looking for anomalies in log-ins and actions, he advises. Many banks are already doing that with customer-facing offerings like online banking. But Austin believes that the Heartbleed vulnerability will drive banks to do the same thing with their own internal networks, analyzing the behavior of employees and partners and looking for odd behavior that could indicate a criminal has access to the network.

“We have yet to see all the breaches from the vulnerability and it’s full impact. I think this will definitely put pressure on the banks… We are already having discussions with banks on working to protect employees and partners working in their networks,” Austin shares.

Banks should first work to address the Heartbleed vulnerability by patching their internal hardware for the vulnerability and encourage their customers to change their passwords, Austin advises. They should then ensure that they have transaction monitoring and behavioral analytics in place on the back-end of their customer-facing applications. Finally, they need to investigate their internal IT security protocols to protect themselves from a compromise there. “No bank wants to have a mass Target-style breach,” Austin explains.

Jonathan Camhi has been an associate editor with Bank Systems & Technology since 2012. He previously worked as a freelance journalist in New York City covering politics, health and immigration, and has a master's degree from the City University of New York's Graduate School ... View Full Bio

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