The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council issued two warnings today against cyberattacks on financial institutions and suggested ways banks can prepare for new onslaughts.

According to the group of government agencies, cyberattacks have increased in both frequency and severity the last two years. Cyber criminals can use stolen credentials to commit fraud or identity theft, modify and disrupt information systems, and obtain, destroy, or corrupt data, the regulators pointed out. Also, cyber criminals often introduce malware to business systems through e-mail attachments, by connecting infected external devices, such as USB drives, to computers or networks, or by introducing the malware directly onto the business systems using compromised credentials.

According to the FFIEC, financial institutions should:

  • Securely configure systems and services;
  • Review, update, and test incident response and business continuity plans;
  • Conduct ongoing information security risk assessments;
  • Perform security monitoring, prevention, and risk mitigation;
  • Protect against unauthorized access;
  • Implement and test controls around critical systems regularly;
  • Enhance information security awareness and training programs; and
  • Participate in industry information-sharing forums, such as the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center.

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence passed a bill last week that would provide greater flexibility in cyberthreat information sharing between businesses and government.