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Five Ways to Prevent Cybercrime from Targeting Your Business


Living in the digital age, cybercrime has become one of the greatest threats we face. No matter the size of your business, your organization could be a target for online crime and the larger your business grows, the bigger the bull’s-eye can get. The techniques cybercriminals use make for an interesting read, but better are ways your business can protect itself.

Many criminals attempt to take over computers used for financial transactions. This is easier if many computers are involved and are used for multiple purposes. Computers never used for web browsing or email access make criminals work harder to steal your company’s money or data.

Listed below are five ways to protect your financial systems from cybercrime:

  • Create one or more dedicated computers. Make sure they are as locked-down as possible and only used for finance work. Locked-down limits the applications and websites the machine can access. An email client should not be installed. Administrative controls are used to prevent additional software from being installed onto this computer.Along with not allowing certain software to be installed, no thumb drives, Dropbox or non-financial cloud applications should be allowed; only access to financial applications and data. When not in use, this computer should be turned off. Yes, this makes it somewhat more difficult to get work done, but these measures also significantly limit exposure to Internet dangers.
  • Make your company more spoof proof. You have probably received emails asking to divulge information about your account at a bank where you do not business. While some of these malicious emails are clearly a scam, you must be vigilant because the intent is deadly serious.Cybercriminals that target businesses may try to convince you that account changes – such as where to deposit payments/or ship products – are legitimate requests when they are not. To protect yourself, never use contact information supplied with such change requests. It may look legitimate, but almost surely points back to a rogue source.Keeping your own, up-to-date customer and vendor contact file allows you to use information you know is true to verify change requests. Just a phone call can head-off cybercrime when you are sure who is on the other end of the call.
  • Be suspicious and remember: it is not your emergency.
    If someone wants to make changes to their account, be suspicious. Know your customers before you have an urgent need to know them. Be especially suspicious of any rush requests that might try to slide past your defenses. Even if the need for the rush is real, so is your need to protect your business. However urgent the other party makes it seem, remember that it is not your emergency.
  • Make friends with the “forward” button in your email program. If someone sends you a spoofed email, where the name is right but the email address points to the cybercriminal, the forward key can break the connection. Forwarding requires you to enter the recipient’s name, which will then select the correct email address, not the spoofed address. Replying will send the message to the cybercriminal. This technique is more complex than simply pressing “reply” or “reply all” but it is a spoofer’s nightmare.
  • Watch your bank and credit accounts more closely and more often. A lot can happen between statements, so consider reconciling your accounts as often as daily, which will catch criminals accessing your account early in their plundering.

Cybercriminals are among the smartest people working in tech and their tactics change frequently. Fortunately, there are some common-sense defenses that you can use to help defend your organization.

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(Posted 5-5-15)

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