Building Up Finance: Handling Banking Industry’s Cybersecurity Environment

By Srikanth
4 Min Read
Building Up Finance: Handling Banking Industry's Cybersecurity Environment 1

Over the past two decades, the landscape of the Indian banking industry has undergone significant transformations, propelling it into the digital era. Four pivotal developments have shaped this evolution, each exerting pressure and prompting urgent changes within the sector. Understanding the cybersecurity environment of the banking industry necessitates delving into these transformative phases.


The first milestone was the alignment with Centralized Online Real-time Exchange (CORE) through CORE Banking Solutions (CBS), mandated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). This compelled banks to centralize and digitize their operations, discarding traditional branch-centric approaches. The implementation demanded substantial investments in IT infrastructure, connectivity, employee training, and compliance.

Subsequently, the introduction of the Prime Minister Jan Dhan Yojna (PMJDY) aimed to include hundreds of millions of Indians in the banking ecosystem. The third upheaval materialized in the form of Demonetization, compelling a shift towards digital transactions and placing a substantial burden on the Indian Banking System. Concurrently, the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM), popularly known as Unified Payments Interface (UPI), emerged, linking every bank account with a unified payment system.

The influx of fintech startups seeking integration with the banking industry through Application Portable Interfaces (APIs) necessitated the strengthening of security measures by Indian banks. These dynamic changes have ensnared Indian banks, the RBI, and policymakers in a continuous loop of evolution. In a span of just two decades, the once lumbering banking system has metamorphosed into an agile, reliable, and fail-proof system for the fifth-largest global economy and a nation aspiring to achieve a $5 trillion economy status.

However, this rapid evolution has also left behind vulnerabilities exploited by sophisticated hackers and scamsters. The diversity within the banking industry, encompassing private banks, PSU banks, NBFCs, microfinance companies, and cooperative banks, mirrors the intricate fabric of consumers—from corporates and fintech companies to urban individuals, farmers, laborers, and those below the poverty line.

While the banking sector has made commendable progress, there are critical areas where Chief Security Officers (CSOs) must focus to fortify cybersecurity. Firstly, the deployment of a robust Business Continuity Plan becomes imperative to withstand Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Ensuring the hardening of bank employees’ devices and enforcing strict policies regarding USB access, email privileges, and internet access is crucial. Banks should deploy traffic qualification solutions for their websites and actively monitor the internet for phishing activities. Periodic and thoughtful security audits are mandatory.

Furthermore, the banking industry must adopt a collaborative approach by sharing incidents and coordinating responses. Recent events underscore the need for an intensified educational drive targeting consumers. Leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect abnormal transactions can significantly enhance CSOs’ ability to fortify cybersecurity.

In conclusion, the journey of the Indian banking industry over the last two decades is a testament to adaptability and resilience. As the industry navigates the complexities of a digital era, prioritizing and refining cybersecurity measures will be pivotal in safeguarding the financial well-being of the nation and its diverse array of consumers.

Article Contributed by Mr. Vishal Prakash Shah, Founder and CEO, Synersoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

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