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How Secure Are Your Online Transactions? Quick Tips to Prevent Cyber Fraud

October 25, 2012

Corporate account takeover can happen to anyone. When any part of your daily operations involves sending wire requests through online channels, you may be at an even greater risk. Small businesses, including law firms, are now targets for cyber fraud. If some precautions are not taken, these businesses could become particularly more vulnerable. In 2011, 72 percent of data breach cases affected businesses with 100 employees or less1.

At SCBT, we value our relationship with the S.C. Bar and all of its members. To ensure you are protected against fraudulent scams, we want to make you aware of a few that are active right now, including e-mail account takeover, malware usage and man-in-the-middle attacks. In addition, we want to provide you with helpful information to keep your business operations running smoothly.

E-mail Account Takeover
E-mail account takeover occurs when a scammer has obtained your password and gained access to your e-mail account. Once the scammer has gained access to your e-mail account, he or she can make changes to the account in order to continue obtaining access. At this point, the scammer can impersonate you and initiate wires and other bank transactions.

E-mail account takeover is often a result of poor passwords and easily guessed password recovery questions. To prevent this, use a strong password and change your password periodically.

Malware Usage
Malware is malicious software, including viruses and spyware. Malware can be easily loaded onto a computer or mobile device by opening an infected e-mail, attachment or web link. Once the malware is loaded, the scammer will be able to watch all of your keystrokes and steal personal information, usernames and passwords. The scammer can then login as you and transfer money between and even out of your accounts. If your computer slows down, crashes, displays pop-ups or web pages you did not intend to visit, your computer may be infected with malware.

Downloading anti-malware and antivirus software can detect and remove monitoring software on your computer. In many cases, this software can block hackers from accessing your information. Layer your security approach by downloading both anti-malware and antivirus software. Anti-malware is just a complement to antivirus software. Anti-malware targets more specific computer problems and prevents personal passwords from being stolen, while antivirus software prevents viruses affecting your whole computer system. Set this software to update automatically to ensure security.

Man-in-the-Middle Attack
This attack occurs in real time. As you access your bank account and begin to transfer money to or from your account, a third party can hack into the routing system and change a transaction that you initiated. Instead of the money going into the account you desire, it will go into the scammer’s account. This often occurs when using unsecured networks with weak network communication protocol, like in a coffee house, hotel or restaurant, where multiple people have access.

To avoid man-in-the-middle attacks, always access financial accounts and make transfers while on a password protected and secured network.

Fraud prevention is a partnership between financial institutions and businesses. That partnership requires a commitment from both parties to take proactive measures to keep all financial information secure.

If you have any questions regarding the safety and security of your financial information, please do not hesitate to call a local SCBT office. We have a dedicated team of bankers ready to help and protect you.

1”The Small Business Guide to Corporate Account Takeover.” American Bankers Association.
Web. 22 Oct. 2012.






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