Isn’t online banking amazing? For those of us who pre-date online banking, we truly know how great of an invention it is. No waiting in line, filling out form after form, or even having to wait for business hours. Online banking is convenient and quick, but it is not without flaws. Cyber attacks are on the rise and everyone is at risk; no company is too small or too large for hackers to target.
These bank account breaches are often more than a stranger taking a shopping spree with your company’s money; in fact, hackers can take enough to cripple, even destroy, your company.
To make matters worse, there isn’t always a way to get that money back. Banks frequently won’t assume liability for the loss and business accounts are not covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Banks expect businesses to do their own due diligence and educate employees on security. Even if a hack is due to bank error, it is rarely an easy process to get your money back. In 2009, a construction company had to bring the People’s United Bank to court to recuperate their losses after hackers stole $300,000. Three years later, the bank agreed to pay back the money that was stolen plus interest. Unfortunately, the back did not reimburse the construction company’s legal fees nor did they compensate the company for the time/business lost due to the hack.
There is no guaranteed way to prevent a cyber attack, but there are plenty of ways to reduce the risk. Here are six simple ways to begin protecting your business against bank account hackers:
- Monitor your account activity – Always review you bank statement – daily, if possible. Time is your worst enemy if your account gets hacked. Many attacks are not done with one transaction; instead, hackers often take small amounts over time. The longer you put off reviewing the statements, the more time hackers have to steal your money and get away with it.
- Update your security – Make sure you have the latest version of anti-virus and malware software. Also, keep your operating system up-to-date. Each new version is more advanced and can better protect you. Often times, these software packages can be set to automatically update themselves, keeping you protected with little to no effort.
- Stop using email attachments – A huge portion of viruses infect a computer via an email attachment. Use a centralized server to share documents, so everyone can access the files without emailing them. If this is not possible, educate your employees on email security. Make sure everyone avoids opening attachments from unknown senders and can spot the signs of a suspicious attachment.
- Choose your bank carefully – Banks usually have no legal obligation to reimburse businesses after being hacked, so it’s up to you to investigate and decide whether or not you think the bank is working hard enough to protect you. The top two things to look at are the bank’s online security, and the policy on alerting you about fraudulent charges.
- A bank’s online security should include multi-factor identification process and secure webpages for the entire site (https:// – Look for the Lock). Multi-factor identification includes such things as CAPTCHA’s and visual cues.
- The bank should have an automatic system to scan for suspicious account transaction activities. Banks that manually check often miss fraudulent charges due to the difficulty of the task.
- Have a “banking only” computer – If it works for your company, do all your banking on one computer. Dedicate this computer to banking only – no emails or Web surfing. This will dramatically reduce the risk of an attack.
- Get fraud insurance – It is cheap and it can save your business if you get attacked. But read the policy carefully – some only cover losses caused by paper checks.
Hope and optimism are not strategies that are going to protect you against an attack. You need to dedicate the time, effort, and money to shielding your company against harm.