How Threat Intelligence Assists Finance Firms to Combat Cybercrime

Cybercrime poses a significant threat to the Australian finance industry, with financial institutions and accounting firms being prime targets due to the sensitive and valuable data they handle. These cyber threats can result in substantial financial losses, reputational damage, and regulatory penalties. 

Threat intelligence is a powerful, intelligent tool that can help financial services and security professionals identify, understand, and mitigate cyber risks effectively.

Types of Cyber Threats in Financial Services

Financial institutions are attractive targets for cybercriminals due to the high value of their assets and the sensitive information they manage. Common cyber threats faced by finance firms include:

  • Phishing Attacks: Cybercriminals use deceptive emails and websites to trick employees into revealing confidential information such as login credentials.
  • Ransomware: Malicious software that encrypts a firm’s data, demanding a ransom for its release. This can halt operations and result in significant financial loss.
  • Insider Threats: Disgruntled or compromised employees who misuse their access to harm the organisation from within.
  • Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs): Prolonged and targeted cyber-attacks where intruders gain a foothold in a network and remain undetected for a long period.
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks: Overwhelming a firm’s online services to disrupt operations and cause downtime.

What is Threat Intelligence?

Threat intelligence is the process of gathering, analysing, and interpreting information about current and potential threats to an organisation’s security. It involves a continuous cycle of data collection, analysis, and dissemination, providing actionable insights to enhance an organisation’s security posture.

Key components:

  • Data Collection: Gathering data from various sources such as open-source intelligence (OSINT), social media, dark web forums, and threat databases.
  • Analysis: Interpreting the collected data to identify patterns, trends, and potential threats. This involves the use of advanced analytics, machine learning, and human expertise.
  • Dissemination: Sharing the analysed intelligence with relevant stakeholders within the organisation to inform decision-making and defensive strategies.

Threat intelligence is a powerful tool in identifying cyber threats early and accurately. By continuously monitoring various data sources, threat intelligence solutions can:

  • Detect Anomalies: Identify unusual activities and potential threats before they cause security incidents.
  • Understand Threat Actors: Gain insights into the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) used by cybercriminals targeting the finance sector.
  • Assess Vulnerabilities: Recognise and prioritise vulnerabilities within their systems that could be exploited by attackers.

Threat Intelligence Tools Boosting Cyber Security for Financial Services

Threat intelligence enables proactive capabilities in a wide range of modern cyber security tools, methods, and technologies – including bespoke threat intelligence platforms.

  • Threat Hunting: Actively searching for signs of malicious activities within the network. Threat intelligence provides the necessary context and indicators of compromise (IOCs) to guide these hunts.
  • Vulnerability Management: Regularly scanning and patching vulnerabilities based on the prioritisation provided by threat intelligence, focusing on those most likely to be exploited.
  • Security Information and Event Management (SIEM): Integrating threat intelligence with SIEM systems to correlate threat data with internal security logs, enabling faster detection and response.
  • Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS): Enhancing IDS capabilities by updating them with the latest threat intelligence feeds, which help in recognising and alerting about new threats.
  • Next-Gen Firewalls: Configuring firewalls with the latest threat intelligence to block malicious IP addresses and domains.
  • Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR): Using threat intelligence to identify suspicious behaviours on endpoints, allowing for quick isolation and remediation.
  • Email Security: Filtering out phishing emails and other malicious content based on threat intelligence data about current attack trends.


Ensuring Regulatory Compliance in Finance Firms

The finance sector is heavily regulated to protect sensitive data and maintain the integrity of financial systems. Compliance with financial regulators such as the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is vital to maintain legal and ethical operations, and uphold client trust. 

Failure to comply can result in severe consequences, including hefty fines, reputational damage, and even lawsuits.

Threat intelligence assists financial firms in meeting these regulatory requirements by:

  • Identifying Compliance Gaps: Continuously monitoring and analysing regulatory changes and compliance trends to ensure that security measures align with legal requirements.
  • Risk Management: Providing insights into emerging threats and vulnerabilities, allowing firms to prioritise and mitigate risks in accordance with regulatory expectations.
  • Audit Preparedness: Maintaining up-to-date records and evidence of threat monitoring and response activities to demonstrate compliance during audits.
  • Policy Development: Informing the creation and adjustment of security policies and procedures to meet regulatory standards.

Enhancing Incident Response with Threat Intelligence

Effective incident response is critical in mitigating the impact of cyber-attacks. Financial institutions must be prepared to respond quickly and efficiently to minimise damage, and recover operations.

Threat intelligence can support incident response through:

  • Early Detection: Providing real-time alerts and contextual information about emerging threats, allowing security teams to detect incidents early and prevent them from escalating.
  • Improved Decision-Making: Offering detailed insights into the nature and scope of threats, enabling security teams to make informed decisions about containment and remediation strategies.
  • Coordination and Communication: Facilitating better coordination between different teams and stakeholders by providing a common understanding of the threat landscape and response actions.
  • Post-Incident Analysis: Supporting thorough investigations and root cause analysis by supplying historical threat data and attack patterns, helping to prevent future incidents.

Providing Expert Threat Intelligence Tools and Cyber Security for Financial Services Firms

With the right combination of threat intelligence tools and techniques, financial services institutions and accounting firms can greatly strengthen their cyber security defences against malicious cybercriminals seeking to steal sensitive information or disrupt critical business operations.

Steadfast Solutions is a specialised provider of cyber security for financial services. Our expert team provides SIEM and SOC services, support and management of next-gen firewalls and threat hunting systems, and much more. Reach out to us today and discover the advanced security solutions that will protect your business.