By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Nov. 9, 2023 10:38PM GMT+9
Financial institutions need to pay more and better attention to the “human element” in their quest to create a fully secure banking system if they hope to be able to counter emerging cyber threats, stressed Kim Chul-woong, South Korea’s top financial security official, on Thursday.
Kim, President of the Financial Security Institute (FSI), noted that banks are on the front lines of the great digital transformation and must adapt to the latest technological advancements at a rapid speed. Speaking at the 17th Financial Information Security Conference (FISCON), held in Seoul, Kim explained that bad actors are targeting financial institutions more than ever before, with attacks reaching a point where they have become a threat to the core value of the banking system: trust.
The head of the FSI pointed out the severity of AI-powered cyberattacks by demonstrating a hacking attempt against the financial system’s security procedures. Kim showed the audience how deep fake technology allows one to forge a virtual image of oneself, explaining that bad actors could employ this method to bypass the bank’s verification system. Once such actors penetrate the financial system, the damage could spread across diverse industries and might, in a worst-case scenario, create a full-fledged state of emergency.
“Cyberattacks are becoming smarter and more advanced with the assistance of AI. These attacks mostly go undetected,” said Kim. “Cybersecurity is a risk that no one, not even financial institutions, consumers, or authorities, can evade. Therefore, we must ensure that security will become an important concept in everyone’s daily lives.”
Beyond encouraging users to adopt proper security hygiene practices as a lifestyle, Kim stressed the importance of establishing a security protocol that takes users into consideration from the very initial stages of its development. Citing a report issued by Gartner, who predicted that human-centric security design would be one of this year’s top cybersecurity trends, Kim explained that, despite the best efforts of banks to secure their systems using technology, bad actors can still break into their systems by preying on the weaknesses in the customers themselves.
Kim further urged banking customers to cease being mere passive consumers of banking services and instead take a more active role in the security process. “The eco-friendly movement was unfamiliar and inconvenient when it began, yet it has grown into a social and ethical value. People voluntarily participate in environmental campaigns,” said the president. “The same should hold true for financial security, for we are standing at the threshold of a time of great change.”
This article was copyedited by Arthur Gregory Willers.
Kuksung Nam is a journalist for The Readable. She has extensively traversed the globe to cover the latest stories on the cyber threat landscape and has been producing in-depth stories on security and privacy by engaging with industry giants, foreign government officials and experts. Before joining The Readable, Kuksung reported on politics for one of South Korea’s top-five local newspapers, The Kyeongin Ilbo. Her journalistic skills and reportage earned her the coveted Journalists Association of Korea award in 2021 for her essay detailing exclusive stories about the misconduct of a former government official. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in French from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, a testament to her linguistic capabilities.