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September 8, 2023

Cybersecurity in FinTech: Challenges, Technologies and Best Practices

Cybersecurity is an absolute necessity for financial institutions that want to go digital. Learn more about its challenges and ways to implement them.

Mitya Smusin

Chief Executive Officer

The average user isn’t easily surprised by fintech solutions. Nowadays, plentyof people use mobile banking apps, e-wallets, and budgeting solutions to manage their finances. Besides, the market offers many types  of financial software for businesses to help them organize and control their cash flows. However, this digital financial revolution has also increased the risk of cyber attacks, data breaches, and other security incidents. With the growing threat of cybercrime, cybersecurity has become a critical issue for the fintech industry.

In this article, we will explore how fintech and cybersecurity work together, the security challenges you may face, as well as the latest technologies and best practices that can be used to protect against cyber threats. By understanding the challenges and opportunities of building a good cybersecurity system, you can better protect your company and clients against cyber threats.

Importance of cybersecurity in fintech

The increasing use of technology and digitization in the financial sector has made financial institutions a prime target for cybercriminals, who are constantly looking for vulnerabilities in their systems to exploit. So, in order to protect sensitive information like credit card numbers and bank account details, businesses need to pay close attention to the level of security they implement. Doing so  will also help them maintain clients’ trust and build long-term relationships with their users.

Importance of Cybersecurity

Fintech cybersecurity challenges

Now, let’s move on to the most interesting part. Implementing security measures in general is a challenging activity, but for fintech, it’s on another  level. The most common risks you can face regarding security are: 

Fintech Cybersecurity Challenges

Data breaches

A data breach can occur when an unauthorized person gains access to sensitive data, like financial information, and uses it for fraudulent purposes. The consequences of a data breach can be severe and long-lasting, including financial losses, loss of customer trust, and damage to reputation. You must implement strong security measures and train your employees to reduce the risk of data breaches occurring.

Insider threats

Insider threats are another significant cybersecurity challenge faced by fintech companies. An insider threat is a security risk that comes from within an organization, for example, an employee or contractor who has authorized access to sensitive data or systems. Insider threats can come in many forms, including intentional actions (stealing data or selling confidential information), or unintentional actions (clicking on a malicious link or falling for a phishing scam).

Compliance with regulations

Fintech companies must adhere to numerous regulations and standards to ensure the protection of their customers' financial information. Some of the key regulations and standards include the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), and the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA).

Non-compliance with these regulations can result in significant financial penalties, legal action, and damage to the company's reputation. Therefore, it’s essential for you to stay up-to-date with the latest regulations and standards, implement appropriate security controls, and regularly conduct security audits to ensure compliance.

Emerging technologies

Emerging technologies present both opportunities and challenges for fintech companies in terms of cybersecurity. There are aspects of these technologies that can definitely enhance the security of financial data. One prime example is blockchain. This technology provides a decentralized and immutable ledger that can improve the security and transparency of financial transactions.

However, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) can also introduce new cybersecurity risks. For example, AI-powered attacks can exploit vulnerabilities in systems, and IoT devices can be used as entry points for cyberattacks. Therefore, fintech companies must implement appropriate security measures, like authentication and access controls, to mitigate the risks posed by these emerging technologies.

Third-party risk

Third-party vendors can provide valuable services and technologies to fintech companies, but they can also introduce new security risks. When fintech companies outsource a certain service to a third-party vendor, they must ensure that these vendors have appropriate security measures in place to protect sensitive financial data. This includes conducting thorough due diligence on third-party vendors, including background checks and security assessments, and ensuring that contracts include security requirements.

Cybersecurity: Best practices in fintech

We have named the most common cyber threats a fintech solution can face. Now we are going to discuss the most efficient preventive measures you can implement to protect your company’s data and minimize the possible damage a cyberattack can cause.

Best Practices in Fintech

Conduct regular security audits

By conducting regular security audits, fintech companies can identify and address potential security risks before they can be exploited by cyber attackers. This can help prevent data breaches, protect sensitive financial data, and maintain the trust of customers and stakeholders.

Security audits should be conducted by experienced and qualified security professionals who have a deep understanding of the latest cybersecurity threats and best practices. They should also be conducted using a risk-based approach, focusing on the areas of the organization that are most critical to its operations and the protection of sensitive financial data.

Implement access controls

Implementing access controls involves identifying and classifying sensitive financial data, and determining which employees or third-party vendors require access to this data to perform their job functions. Access should be granted on a need-to-know basis and should be reviewed regularly to ensure that access is appropriate.

Encrypt data

Encrypting sensitive financial data helps protect against data breaches and unauthorized access by cyber attackers. In the event that a cyber attacker gains access to encrypted data, they would be unable to read or use the data without the decryption key.

Fintech companies should implement encryption for all sensitive financial data, both at rest and in transit. This includes customer data, transaction data, and any other data that is critical to the operations of the organization.

Use a layered security approach

Multiple layers of security controls will help fintech companies to provide increased protection against cyber attacks and meet regulatory requirements for cybersecurity. To implement a layered security approach, fintech companies should conduct a comprehensive risk assessment, develop a cybersecurity plan, and regularly test and evaluate their security controls.

Monitor systems and data

By implementing a SIEM system and DLP measures, fintech companies can detect and respond to cyber threats in real-time, minimizing the potential impact of a cyber-attack. Fintech companies should also establish clear data handling policies and procedures to ensure that employees are aware of their responsibilities for protecting sensitive financial data.

Educate employees

Employees are often the first line of defense against cyber threats, and their actions can have a significant impact on the overall cybersecurity posture of the organization.

To effectively educate employees, fintech companies should provide regular cybersecurity training and awareness programs. These programs should cover topics like password security, phishing awareness, and social engineering tactics.

Employees should also be trained on the organization's cybersecurity policies and procedures, including how to report security incidents and how to handle sensitive financial data.

Stay up-to-date on regulations

To stay up-to-date on regulations, fintech companies should establish a compliance program that includes ongoing monitoring of regulatory changes and updates. This can include subscribing to regulatory news alerts, attending industry conferences and webinars, and engaging with industry associations and regulatory bodies.

Emerging technologies and fintech security

Emerging Technologies

Cloud computing

Cloud computing is a technology that presents unique cybersecurity challenges for fintech companies. By implementing a robust cloud security strategy that includes appropriate access controls, data encryption, and monitoring, fintech companies can ensure that their cloud environments are secure and compliant with industry-specific regulations.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI is an emerging technology that is transforming the fintech industry. By implementing a robust AI security strategy that includes secure AI models, high-quality data, monitoring, security assessments, and access controls, fintech companies can ensure that their AI systems are secure and compliant with industry-specific regulations.


Blockchain technology is based on a distributed ledger system, which means that data is stored across a network of computers rather than on a central server. This provides a high level of security, as the data is encrypted and cannot be tampered with or altered without consensus from the network.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of connected devices that can exchange data with each other and with other systems. In the fintech industry, IoT devices are becoming increasingly popular for applications like asset tracking, payment processing, and fraud detection. But IoT is an emerging technology that presents unique cybersecurity challenges for the fintech industry. By implementing a robust IoT security strategy that includes appropriate access controls, encryption, software updates, security assessments, and monitoring, fintech companies can ensure that their IoT systems are secure and compliant with industry-specific regulations.

The future of fintech security

Artificial intelligence and machine learning

The future of fintech security lies in leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies. These technologies have the potential to transform the way that fintech companies approach cybersecurity by enabling faster and more accurate threat detection and response.

AI and ML can be used to analyze vast amounts of data in real-time, identifying patterns and anomalies that may indicate a potential security breach. These technologies can also be used to automatically respond to security incidents, like blocking a user account or alerting security personnel.

Biometric authentication

The future of fintech security is likely to revolve around biometric authentication. This technology involves using unique physical characteristics, like fingerprints, facial features, or iris scans, to confirm the identity of the user. Biometric authentication is gaining traction as a more secure alternative to traditional passwords or PINs. One of the main advantages of biometrics is that they cannot be replicated or stolen in the same way that passwords or tokens can be. As such, biometrics offer a highly effective way to combat fraud and enhance security in the fintech industry.

Biometric Authentication

Quantum computing

Many of the encryption techniques used in today's financial systems rely on mathematical problems that are difficult for classical computers to solve. But quantum computers could potentially solve these problems much faster than classical computers, rendering existing encryption methods obsolete. As such, the development of quantum-resistant cryptographic systems is becoming increasingly important to ensure the security of financial data in the face of quantum computing.

To address this challenge, researchers are developing new cryptographic techniques that rely on quantum mechanics principles, like quantum key distribution and post-quantum cryptography. These techniques are designed to be resistant to attacks from quantum computers, ensuring that financial data remains secure in the quantum era.

Privacy regulations

In the fintech industry, privacy regulations are playing a key role in shaping how financial data is collected, processed, and shared. These regulations impose strict requirements on companies regarding how they obtain consent from individuals to collect their data, how they handle that data, and how they report data breaches.

In addition to regulatory compliance, privacy is also becoming a competitive differentiator for finance-related businesses. Consumers are increasingly concerned about the privacy and security of their financial data, and are more likely to choose providers that can demonstrate a strong commitment to privacy and data protection.

Cyber insurance

Cyber insurance policies typically cover a range of risks, including data breaches, business interruption, cyber extortion, and liability for third-party claims. Policies can be tailored to the specific needs of the policyholder, and can cover both first-party losses (like costs incurred to investigate and remediate a breach) and third-party losses (like damages awarded in a lawsuit).

In addition to financial protection, cyber insurance policies can also provide access to a range of support services, like breach response planning, incident response teams, and legal and public relations support.

Cyber threat intelligence

Cyber threat intelligence can come from a variety of sources, including open-source intelligence, threat feeds, and human intelligence. This information is used to identify the tactics, techniques, and procedures used by cyber criminals, as well as to identify vulnerabilities in systems and networks that can be exploited.

The use of cyber threat intelligence is becoming increasingly important in the fight against cyber threats, as cyber criminals become more sophisticated and the threat landscape becomes more complex. By using threat intelligence, organizations can gain a better understanding of the threats they face, and can take proactive measures to protect themselves against those threats.

Fintech cybersecurity solutions by Yellow

Here at Yellow, we have a deep understanding of the unique cybersecurity challenges facing the fintech industry and can provide customized solutions to meet your specific needs. We will help you improve your overall security posture by identifying vulnerabilities and implementing tailored cybersecurity solutions.

Working with Yellow will provide your application with a competitive advantage in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. By partnering with an experienced and trusted cybersecurity provider, you can stay ahead of emerging threats and protect your customers' sensitive financial information.

Summing it up

Cybersecurity in fintech is a truly critical issue. With the increasing use of technology in financial services, there are more opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities and steal sensitive financial information. However, by implementing best practices and leveraging the latest technologies, financial institutions and fintech companies can protect themselves and their customers against cyber threats.

💡 What is cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity refers to the measures taken to protect computer systems, networks, and electronic devices from unauthorized access, theft, and damage caused by cyber threats like hackers, viruses, and malware.

💡 How can fintech companies prevent cybersecurity breaches?

You can prevent cybersecurity breaches by implementing strong access controls, regularly updating your platform, providing cybersecurity training to employees, and leveraging advanced technologies like biometric authentication and cyber threat intelligence.

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