How can a financial institution, or FinCrime professionals in any industry, prevent these types of fraud? Their fraud monitoring software should be able to detect certain fraud in their clients’ accounts, such as account takeover, ACH, new account, kiting, debit card, and check card fraud, at a minimum.
Financial institutions are not immune to cyber threats and may be more at risk as criminals become more adept at thwarting cybersecurity efforts, especially if there are not enough mitigating measures in place. These steps can help financial institutions protect against cyber attacks:
Assess infrastructure and its cybersecurity: Conduct regular reviews, both internally and by an outside security expert, to be sure it is up-to-date or identify the areas that need to be improved.
Establish an enterprise-wide security policy and procedures: Prioritize the areas of most importance, such as the handling of sensitive data explicitly defining what is confidential and highly confidential information. This includes limiting access to information required to perform each employee’s role, security awareness to train personnel on social engineering techniques and how to report it.
Implement an audit trail: The security team should have an audit in place to monitor and log all security threats, so an attack does not go unnoticed and forensic evidence is available.
Include Cyberattacks in the Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity Plan: Make risk-based decisions on what to do in the event of a cyberattack and how to minimize business downtime and disruptions to service. Be aware of OFAC restrictions if there is a ransomware attack as payment of ransom to a designated individual or entity is not allowed.
Encrypt the data: Data is one of the most important assets and a high-value target for criminals. Strong encryption of data and protecting the decryption keys are essential parts of data security.
Use multi-factor authentication (MFA): Access to the financial institution’s website or mobile app is a prime target for criminals. Add an extra layer of protection by using biometrics, an authenticator app, or a one-time passcode so the user is the only one who can have access.
Keep the firewall turned on: A firewall helps protect computers from hackers who might try to gain access to crash it, delete information, or even steal passwords or other sensitive information. Software firewalls are widely recommended for single computers. The software is prepackaged on some operating systems or can be purchased for individual computers. For multiple networked computers, hardware routers typically provide firewall protection.
Install or update antivirus software: Antivirus software is designed to prevent malicious software programs from embedding on a computer. If it detects malicious code, like a virus or a worm, it works to disarm or remove it. Viruses can infect computers without users’ knowledge. Most types of antivirus software can be set up to update automatically.
Install or update antispyware technology: Spyware is just what it sounds like—software that is surreptitiously installed on your computer to let others peer into one’s activities on the computer. Some spyware collects information about people without their consent or produces unwanted pop-up ads on a web browser. Some operating systems offer free spyware protection, and inexpensive software is readily available for download on the Internet or at a local computer store. Be wary of ads on the Internet offering downloadable antispyware—in some cases these products may be fake and may contain spyware or other malicious code themselves. It’s like buying groceries—shop where you trust.
Keep the operating system up to date: Computer operating systems are periodically updated to stay in tune with technology requirements and to fix security holes. Be sure to install the updates to ensure each computer has the latest protection.
Be careful what is downloaded: Carelessly downloading e-mail attachments can circumvent even the most vigilant anti-virus software. One should never open an e-mail attachment from someone he/she does not know and be wary of forwarded attachments from people he/she does know. They may have unwittingly advanced malicious code.
Confirm that any unusual email that one wishes to respond to is from the stated party: If a person receives an unusual request, such as to send money on behalf of his/her institution, confirm with a phone call or personal visit that the sender is valid. Don’t get caught in a business compromise email scam.
Turn off the computer: With the growth of high-speed Internet connections, many opt to leave their computers on and ready for action. The downside is that being “always on” renders computers more susceptible. Beyond firewall protection, which is designed to fend off unwanted attacks, turning the computer off effectively severs an attacker’s connection—be it spyware or a botnet that employs one’s computer’s resources to reach out to other unwitting users.
Train, train, train: Cybercrime staff training is routine for many financial institutions on an annual basis, but if an institution has not implemented effective training, it is time to do so. Test the staff on occasion and remind those who click on links or answer phony emails what they have learned in training.
The protection of the U.S. financial system, and our communities, is mission critical. Financial institutions are uniquely positioned to observe the suspicious activity that results from cybercrime, including cyber-enabled financial crime. Internet usage will continue to rise within the corporate and private worlds, but with these tips for prevention and detection, financial institutions and each person’s personal computers will be a step ahead in preventing cybercrime in the future. Cybercrime will continue to evolve, so stay proactive by attending training, reading articles, and keeping abreast of the newest trends.