IC University Blog

Understanding the Scope of Cybercrime

Posted by Thaddeus Evans on Mar 28, 2024 11:27:04 AM

Cybercrime encompasses a wide range of illicit activities performed through digital channels, including data breaches, phishing attacks, ransomware, and financial fraud. These threats pose significant risks to community banks, threatening the security of customer data, financial assets, and the trust of the communities they serve.

Statistics on Cyberattacks

According to a recent study conducted by the American Bankers Association (ABA), community banks are increasingly facing cyber threats, with 75% reporting experiencing at least one cybersecurity incident in the past year. These incidents range from malware infections and phishing attempts to complex cyberattacks targeting sensitive financial data.

Data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) further underscores the severity of the problem, revealing that cyberattacks against community banks have been on the rise, with a 20% increase in reported incidents over the past two years.

Financial Impact of Cyberattacks

The financial impact of cyberattacks on community banks can be significant, affecting both the institution and its customers. According to the ABA study, the average cost of a cyberattack for a community bank exceeds $200,000, considering expenses related to incident response, remediation, and regulatory compliance.

Furthermore, research conducted by the Ponemon Institute found that the average cost of a data breach for a financial institution, including community banks, is approximately $5.85 million. This includes costs associated with customer notification, credit monitoring, legal fees, and reputational damage.

Customer Trust and Reputation

Beyond the financial implications, cyberattacks can also corrode customer trust and damage the reputation of community banks. According to a survey conducted by Accenture, 69% of consumers would consider leaving their bank in the event of a data breach, highlighting the importance of maintaining robust cybersecurity measures to preserve customer loyalty and confidence.

Additionally, research from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) indicates that 80% of consumers believe that financial institutions, including community banks, are responsible for safeguarding their personal and financial information. Any breach of this trust can have lifelong consequences for the bank's reputation and customer relationships.

Regulatory Compliance and Legal Ramifications

Community banks are subject to stringent regulatory requirements aimed at safeguarding customer data and ensuring the integrity of financial systems. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in severe penalties and legal ramifications.

Data from the FDIC reveals that 30% of community banks have faced regulatory scrutiny following a cyber incident, with enforcement actions ranging from fines and sanctions to increased regulatory oversight. These penalties can further aggravate the financial strain on community banks already grappling with the aftermath of a cyberattack.

Mitigating the Threat: Cybersecurity Best Practices

Despite the growing threat of cybercrime, community banks can take proactive measures to mitigate the risk and enhance their cybersecurity posture. These best practices include:

Investing in Robust Cybersecurity Infrastructure:

Community banks should allocate resources to implement advanced cybersecurity solutions, including Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), Application Allowlisting/Ringfencing, and 24/7 security logging and monitoring (SIEM/SOC), to protect against evolving cyber threats.

Employee Training and Awareness:

Human error remains a significant factor in cyberattacks. Community banks should prioritize cybersecurity training and awareness programs to educate employees about the latest cyber threats and best practices for safeguarding sensitive information.

Regular Security Assessments:

Conducting regular security assessments and penetration testing can help community banks identify cybersecurity weaknesses in their systems and infrastructure, allowing for timely remediation actions to strengthen their defenses.

Collaboration and Information Sharing:

Community banks should collaborate with industry partners, cybersecurity companies, regulatory agencies, and law enforcement to share threat intelligence and best practices for combating cybercrime effectively.

Cyber Insurance Coverage:

Investing in cyber insurance can provide financial protection against the costs associated with cyberattacks, including legal fees, regulatory fines, and customer restitution.


Cybercrime poses a significant and growing threat to community banks, jeopardizing the security of customer data, financial assets, and the trust of the communities they serve. By investing in robust cybersecurity infrastructure, prioritizing employee training and awareness, and fostering collaboration with industry partners, community banks can enhance their resilience against cyber threats and safeguard the trust and integrity that are essential to their role in supporting local economies and communities.


Topics: cyber resiliency, Security, cybersecurity, Community Banking, Regulatory Compliance, Zero Trust, Employee Training, Cyberattacks