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    An Analytics & Behavior-Centric Approach to Digital Payment Security for the RBI

    Published on December 22, 2020

    The recent news of cyberattack on a large private bank, where banking operations were halted for two days is really alarming. It appears to have been a denial of service (DDoS) attack or some other flaw in the netbanking system, which led to this attack, where people were not able to connect to the bank’s server and its netbanking site for 48 hours. These types of attacks are always related to flooding of traffic for a specific service because of which the service would stop responding or crash. A known vulnerability within an internal application can also pose these kinds of issues which can lead to a big impact such as bringing the system to a complete halt.

    Examples like this always result in the amendment of current security practices. It is good that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is focusing on this and bringing more digital initiatives that will ensure banking transactions are secure from a cybersecurity perspective. When banks undertake updates or add new applications, they should evaluate the risk related to these applications and ensure that people accessing them can trust the new services. These parameters need to be assessed every time the bank does a vulnerability assessment. The security team at a bank should know how a certain application is behaving, what is the baseline load, what type of transactions are happening, etc, but this information also needs to be captured at an analytics level. Then if this baseline load is exceeded, it acts as an early warning system to step in and address DDoS attacks quickly.

    As RBI is focused on building a more secure digital framework, it should look at utilizing analytics to make sure banking platforms are resilient. In India, the banking sector seems to be heading towards a big transformation. For instance in the past, RBI rolled out new kinds of credit cards for users where a small chip is inserted in cards to improve security and convenience for card transactions. This shows how RBI is working towards modern initiatives and frameworks for the banks to adopt. Once we get to know the new policy and guidelines, we can further share our thoughts.

    I imagine that RBI would intend to build a robust security policy that takes all types of banking players (private, nationalized, overseas and cooperative) and modes of transactions into account. As India is talking about data protection and data privacy, these factors will also have to be considered. For example, whether a person completes a transaction from a mobile phone or laptop or from any location, data gets logged into the system. This brings up the question of data security and privacy. I’m sure RBI will focus on these aspects from their digital initiative perspective-how to manage the infrastructure risk along with the privacy risk. Data protection is another point that RBI may keep in mind while designing security policies. Data can be protected and better secured by taking a behavior-centric approach to security.

    For instance, during a crisis Forcepoint’s Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solution can help banking customers detect and protect data leaks from a compromised system, the web, email or from an endpoint. As any B2B service consumes that data, it can also monitor data over the transport layer.

    Our Dynamic User Protection helps in detecting and preventing an insider threat, and monitors user activities using indicators of behaviors to implement an auto-response based on the risk matrix. This helps banks detect risky behaviors in the core banking system and to identify people who interact with that data.

    As people are working from home even in the banking sector, our Private Access replaces the traditional VPN and brings in micro-segmentation. This solution helps in segregating network and data management plane to provide secure remote access to applications and data in the datacenter.

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