31 May 2024

Top Cybersecurity Jobs in 2024: What Banks Need to Know

The demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals has never been more pressing. Between 2019 and 2023, data compromise incidents at financial institutions rose by over 330%, with more than 64% of firms reporting ransomware attacks last year, up from 55% in 2022.

By the end of 2023, the cybersecurity workforce in North America, which includes the U.S., had grown by 11.3% year-over-year to approximately 1.5 million professionals​. Despite this growth, a huge gap exists between the demand and supply. As of 2023, the U.S. had a shortfall of roughly 522,000 cybersecurity professionals, according to a recent study.

The FDIC’s 2024 Risk Review underscores the importance of addressing operational and cyber risks. Ransomware attacks and supply chain vulnerabilities pose significant challenges to banks and their third-party providers.

MBK Search explores what these issues mean for financial firms looking to bolster their cybersecurity ranks.

Exploring the Current Threat Level

Adopting quantum computing and generative artificial intelligence (AI) tech has brought new risks to the sector. Quantum computing could render current encryption methods obsolete, while generative AI is leveraged to circumvent identity and authentication-based defenses.

Ransomware actors continue to target banks and their third parties, employing data exfiltration techniques and leveraging known software vulnerabilities, phishing emails, and compromised credentials to gain network access. Supply chain attacks on third-party software, hardware, and computing service providers remain a significant risk.

Geopolitical events, such as the Israel-Hamas conflict and the war in Ukraine, have also heightened the likelihood of cyber-attacks on banks. Politically motivated distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against the financial sector have become more prevalent, with pro-Russian “hacktivist” groups intensifying their attacks against Europe and the United States in 2023.

Cybersecurity Jobs in Demand in 2024

In recent years, the banking industry has seen a significant increase in demand for specific cybersecurity jobs. Here are some key cybersecurity roles that have become increasingly important over the past 2-3 years, along with the necessary skills and expertise:

Incident Response Analysts

With the rise in sophisticated cyber attacks, including ransomware and supply chain attacks, the role of Incident Response Analysts has become crucial. These professionals are responsible for quickly detecting and responding to security incidents to minimize damage and recovery time.

Skills needed: Proficiency in using security information and event management (SIEM) systems, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) to identify and analyze threats.

Cybersecurity Engineers

The need for robust and secure network solutions has grown as cyber threats become more complex. Cybersecurity Engineers are critical in designing and implementing these solutions to protect against attacks.

Skills needed: Proficiency in designing and implementing secure network architectures, including firewalls, VPNs, and network segmentation.

Penetration Testers (Ethical Hackers)

The need for proactive security measures has driven demand for Penetration Testers, who identify and exploit vulnerabilities to strengthen defenses before malicious actors can exploit them.

Skills needed: Understanding buffer overflows, SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and other common attack vectors. They must also conduct comprehensive security assessments and vulnerability scans to identify potential security weaknesses in systems and applications. This involves using tools like Nessus, OpenVAS, and Qualys.

Points of Discussion for GRC and Talent Acquisition Teams

Beyond hiring for particular skill, there are fundamental questions hiring managers and talent acquisition teams at banks should be asking:

  • How can we balance competitive salaries, career development opportunities, and a positive work environment to attract and retain top cybersecurity talent in a highly competitive market?
  • What specific technical skills (e.g., risk assessment, incident response) and certifications (e.g., CISSP, CISM, CRISC) should we prioritize when hiring for cybersecurity roles?
  • How can we implement specific programs, such as ongoing training sessions, certifications, workshops, and partnerships with educational institutions, to foster a continuous learning and development culture and ensure their cybersecurity staff stay up-to-date with the latest threats and technologies?
  • What multifaceted strategies can we employ, including inclusive hiring practices, partnerships with diverse organizations, and internal diversity training, to build a varied and inclusive cybersecurity workforce and tap into a wider talent pool?
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