Cybersecurity and Ransomware Threats to Nondepository Financial Institutions

Consumer Services Director Cindy Fazio.

Anne Neuberger, Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology, issued a letter to U.S. corporate executives and business leaders on June 2, 2021. The letter emphasized the need for the private sector to protect against ransomware threats based on the significant increase in the number and size of ransomware incidents. The letter is further excerpted here:

The private sector also has a critical responsibility to protect against these threats. All organizations must recognize that no company is safe from being targeted by ransomware, regardless of size or location.

To understand your risk, business executives should immediately convene their leadership teams to discuss the ransomware threat and review corporate security posture and business continuity plans to ensure you have the ability to continue or quickly restore operations.

Included in the letter were specific steps a business can take to help protect itself from a cybersecurity or ransomware attack.

  • Implement the best practices of multifactor authentication, endpoint detection & response, encryption, and a skilled, empowered security team.
  • Backup your data, system images, and configurations, regularly test them, and keep the backups offline.
  • Update and patch systems promptly.
  • Test your incident response plan.
  • Check Your Security Team’s Work.
  • Segment your networks.

There are several other resources available to nondepository financial institutions including:

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), an official website of the U.S. government, has published a Ransomware Guidance and Resources page.

The U.S. Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has posted an Advisory on Ransomware and the Use of the Financial System to Facilitate Ransom Payments.

The American Bankers Association (ABA) has also posted advice for businesses and consumers regarding ransomware attacks.

And last, but not least, DFI's information security webpage with resources for our licensees. We encourage licensees to review this page and take advantage of the wealth of information on that page, including the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) ransomware self-assessment tool.