COVID-19 has added a challenge for digital banking, demanding more robust cybersecurity technologies and an urgent need to improve security in the digital culture, for employees and users.
Prior to COVID-19, cyberattacks in Latin America were recurrent and substantial. The most deeply rooted concern has been ransomware, with a 57% presence in the territory, according to the ESET Security Report 2018. “Because of their line of business, [banks] are more attractive to cybercrime. […] They extract not only financial resources, but also very valuable information for the black market,” says Juan Diego Fallas, technological auditor specialized in banking. The growing adoption of mobile banking, with a marked upturn in remote solutions being marketed, could also pose its own difficulties. Smartphone users received six mobile malware attack attempts per minute between July 2018 and last July, according to a Kaspersky report. As part of the regional response to COVID-19, many bank employees have moved to working remotely from home, an activity that has raised its own digital security issues. “I would argue that it is a very big challenge for banks because many of them have telework environments planned to continue functioning, but this does not necessarily include a cybersecurity strategy,” says David López, vice president of sales for Latin America at AppGate. AppGate says sales of licenses for its authentication technologies have risen 30% in the last month, due to stay-at-home measures and the prioritization of digital channels. Additionally, authentication requests from Latin American banks have increased by 45%.