“Bank and Government WANs – The Network Vulnerability Payday for Cybercriminals”

A WAN (Wide Area Network) in cybersecurity refers to a network that spans a large geographical area and connects multiple smaller networks or devices. WANs are often used to connect remote offices or branch locations to a central corporate network. The prevalence of Wide Area Networks (WANs) in the digital age presents unique cybersecurity challenges, due to the transmission of sensitive data over public or semi-public networks. WANs are vulnerable to various security threats, such as eavesdropping, data interception, and unauthorised access, making it crucial for all organisations, and especially banks and government agencies, to secure these critical systems against cyberattacks.

According to a report by Accenture[1], the banking industry is the most targeted sector by cyber criminals, with an average of 85 attacks per year. When the Bangladesh Bank was hacked in 2016[2], it resulted in the loss of $81 million. The attackers gained access to the bank’s systems through a vulnerability in its WAN.

In the public sector, vulnerable government agency WANs  run a high risk of compromising national security. In 2015, the US Office of Personnel Management suffered a data breach that affected 22 million people[3]. Once again, the attackers exploited vulnerabilities in the agency’s WAN to gain access to sensitive data. Furthermore, in 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack[4] affected thousands of organisations worldwide, including hospitals and government agencies, utilising the WAN of these organisations to multiply and spread rapidly.

Securing WANs is essential in preventing cyberattacks and protecting of sensitive data. To mitigate these cyber risks, organisations must implement various security measures such as encryption, firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and virtual private networks (VPNs) to secure their WAN connections. Additionally, regular monitoring and auditing of WAN traffic and network activity are essential to detect and respond to any potential security incidents or breaches.

In the age of digital transformation, WAN security is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have. Any weakness in the network can have devastating consequences, from lost data to damaged reputations.[5]


Pfortner is an OEM with patented and certified solutions. We have been securing communications for several public and private sector clients for the past 15 years across 12 countries.

If you would like to discuss your secure communications need with us, please feel free to reach out.