Terry Corbell, The Biz Coach
By Terry Corbell
Business Consultant

How to Protect Your Bank Account from the Internet Crime Wave



Over the last several years, at least 19 major banks have been hit by cyber attacks, according to a rash of published reports. For instance, a lot of nerves were rattled by a typical headline in 2012, “Cyber Attacks on US Banks Expose Computer Vulnerability,” appeared in Businessweek.

But this wasn’t a new security scare. For Citibank customers and millions of other consumers who enjoy the convenience of online banking, a headline was alarming. The Wall Street Journal headline: “FBI Probes Hack at Citibank – Russian Cyber Gang Suspected of Stealing Tens of Millions; Bank Denies Breach.”

The article on December 22, 2009 was the last we’ve seen about the Citibank situation. The reported multimillion dollar loss – a public relations nightmare for Citibank – was hushed up.

ID-100222653 stockimagesMany online security experts say online fraud is skyrocketing and there are FBI warnings about such fraud and related scams.

Such cybersecurity experts also cite another alarming trend – increasing sophistication in the methods used by cybercriminals.

About three weeks after the Citibank report, online-banking warnings were issued by the American Bankers Association and FBI (“Cybercrooks stalk small businesses that bank online”).

The warnings followed a wave of cybercrime afflicting small businesses, public-sector agencies, churches, schools, and other non-profits.

Cybercrime methods

Many crooks have been using what are called “banking Trojans.” Here was a typical case: “New Trojan Intercepts Online Banking Information – PC World.” It’s true insurance companies offer insurance to reimburse business victims of cybercrime. But cybercrime is expensive.

A client once hired top security expert Stan Stahl, Ph.D., to investigate a $1 million loss from an online banking theft, and I reported the details in this column, “5 Safety Measures to Thwart Mounting Social-Network Attacks.” He says it resulted in an expensive legal struggle.

He is also assertive in explaining his perspective on the Internet-security issue, Google vs. China.

“There is little in the Google story that the information security community didn’t already know except for the specific vulnerabilities that were exploited,” he said. “What is new – and important – is that now the world knows. For our business, it’s just one more example we can point to of how unsafe the internet is. Plus, because it’s Google, the cybercrime has been deconstructed more thoroughly than usual. Kudos to Google.”

… cybersecurity experts also cite another alarming trend – increasing sophistication in the methods used by cybercriminals.

Mobile-banking dangers

Despite what banks claim, mobile banking is dangerous. (See this Biz Coach article: Our Mobile-Banking Warnings about Security Prove Prophetic)

Here’s the reason for the article: Identity fraud has escalated in smartphones and social media.

Personal online security tips

Here are some of his tips to enhance your personal online security:

  • Review all privacy and policy information.
  • Use unique and hard to guess login information.
  • Protect your computer.
  • Check your account balance regularly.
  • Pay using credit cards.
  • Do not access your account from public locations.
  • Verify email correspondence from bank.
  • If your account is compromised, take swift action.

Online management controls

For your company’s management controls:

  • Don’t allow your employees to use your computers in social networking.
  • Establish a list of allowable web-sites.
  • Closely monitor your bank account.
  • Train employees in social engineering awareness.
  • Change the mindset of your managers and employees – if something seems odd, say no and call for Internet security.
  • Strengthen your defenses.

Oh, don’t forget the danger in opening and responding to e-mails — to avoid cyber criminals from phishing — a tactic to get you to reveal sensitive information.

(Note: I know Dr. Stahl well as a trusted expert, and I’ve interviewed him on multiple occasions. He and I are members of a roundtable of veteran consultants, Consultants West, www.consultantswest.com.)

Resource links:

From the Coach’s Corner, if you’re a cyber victim, contact a noted security expert and then inform authorities (How to Report E-Scams and Hoaxes to the FBI).

Related security articles:

“Phishing is a major problem because there really is no patch for human stupidity.”

-Mike Danseglio


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 





Image courtesy of stockimages www.freedigitalphotos.net

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.