In an era where digital transformation and cybersecurity are fundamental concerns for financial institutions across the world, the need for robust systems to protect sensitive financial data has never been higher. This holds especially true for a renowned institution like CaixaBank, a key player in the Spanish banking sector that serves millions of customers and handles vast amounts of data on a daily basis. As a key player for retail banking in Spain, CaixaBank is responsible not only for safeguarding its own operations but also of ensuring the security and welfare of the services provided to its extensive customer base. 

In a context of persistent and expansive threat landscape that financial institutions currently confront, and despite CaixaBank’s robust and resilient security measures, the company faces around 2,000 cyberattacks monthly. The institution’s push towards cybersecurity, including establishing an in-house CSIRT (Computer Security Incidents Response Team) and an iSOC (Integrated Security Operations Centre), has helped maintain a strong defence against cyberattacks. 

Recognising the evolving and swift nature of cyberthreats, CaixaBank has taken a pioneering stance by investing resources in collaboration with other European partners in cutting-edge research and technology. AI4CYBER initiative aims to enhance its cybersecurity ability and posture by embracing Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven solutions for improved threat detection, vulnerability testing, and automated incident response. 

To achieve this level of continuous growth in cyber resilience, in AI4CYBER CaixaBank will provide an enclosed environment where the projects’ technical solutions can directly gather information from the bank’s infrastructure in order to train and deploy the necessary models while ensuring data protection. This environment allows for the different AI-powered tools from AI4CYBER to find and fix vulnerabilities in CaixaBank internal security systems (in the case of AI4VULN and AI4FIX) and to provide an early detection of sophisticated attack vectors and malicious patterns, allowing a faster reaction to potential incidents (i.e., AI4FIDS, AI4TRIAGE and AI4CTI).  

Taking all these aspects into consideration, CaixaBank is leading AI4CYBER Use Case 2, which will focus on the evaluation of AI4CYBER tools in a real-world banking scenario, aiming to exploit the forementioned AI capabilities to:  

  • Detect and fix vulnerabilities in CaixaBank applications.  
  • Detect any undesired network intrusion and protect sensible and confidential information from leaking and avert data loss. 
  • Detect and prevent the insider threats, identifying any misbehaviour or misuse of credentials that can derive in risks for the bank operations and business continuity. 

As financial institutions encounter common challenges in increasingly digitalised banking services, the insights from CaixaBank’s participation in AI4CYBER will offer great value to the banking sector. Cybersecurity prioritization and technology embracement allow financial institutions to better protect themselves and their customers in an ever-evolving threat landscape. 

We are thrilled to have embarked on this journey with AI4CYBER, fostering intensive collaboration between industry and academia in the banking sector. We seek a significant advancement in the usage of AI tools for cybersecurity, helping the banks to improve their capabilities for faster and more efficient management of vulnerabilities, threats and cyberattacks targeting the sector.  

Stay tuned for more updates as the project advances!  

Authors: Martí Fabregat Pous and Ramón Martín de Pozuelo Genís 

CXB Integrated Security Operations Centre