Below you will find some helpful resources about potential fraud and security threats in business today. The world of cybersecurity is changing every day, so it is important to stay up-to-date with potential threats and security measures.
Monitoring Your Accounts
Preventative Measures a Business Can Take Include:
Copier Data Security
Does your company keep sensitive data — Social Security numbers, credit reports, account numbers, health records, or business secrets? If so, then you have probably instituted safeguards to protect that information, whether it’s stored in computers or on paper. That’s not only good business, but may be required by law.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, your information security plans also should cover the digital copiers your company uses. If the data on your copiers gets into the wrong hands, it could lead to fraud and identity theft.
Digital Copiers are Computers
Commercial copiers have come a long way. Today’s generation of networked multifunction devices — known as “digital copiers” — are "smart" machines that are used to copy, print, scan, fax and email documents. Digital copiers require hard disk drives to manage incoming jobs and workloads, and to increase the speed of production. But not every copier on the market is digital: generally, copiers intended for business have hard drives, while copiers intended for personal or home office use do not.
The hard drive in a digital copier stores data about the documents it copies, prints, scans, faxes or emails. If you don’t take steps to protect that data, it can be stolen from the hard drive, either by remote access or by extracting the data once the drive has been removed.
Digital copiers store different types of information in different ways. For example, photocopied images are more difficult to access directly from the hard drive than documents that are faxed, scanned or printed on the copier.
The Life-Cycle of a Copier
Copiers often are leased, returned, and then leased again or sold. It’s important to know how to secure data that may be retained on a copier hard drive, and what to do with a hard drive when you return a leased copier or dispose of one you own.
It’s wise to build in data security for each stage of your digital copier’s life-cycle: when you plan to acquire a device, when you buy or lease, while you use it, and when you turn it in or dispose of it.
Before you acquire a copier
Make sure it's included in your organization’s information security policies. Copiers should be managed and maintained by your organization’s IT staff. Employees who have expertise and responsibility for securing your computers and servers also should have responsibility for securing data stored on your digital copiers.
When you buy or lease a copier
Evaluate your options for securing the data on the device. Most manufacturers offer data security features with their copiers, either as standard equipment or as optional add-on kits. Typically, these features involve encryption and overwriting.
Depending on the copier, the overwriting feature may allow a user to overwrite after every job run, periodically to clean out the memory, or on a preset schedule. Users may be able to set the number of times data is overwritten — generally, the more times the data is overwritten, the safer it is from being retrieved. However, for speed and convenience, some printers let you save documents (for example, a personnel leave slip) and print them straight from the printer hard drive without having to retrieve the file from your computer. For copiers that offer this feature, the memory is not overwritten with the rest of the memory. Users should be aware that these documents are still available.
Overwriting is different from deleting or reformatting. Deleting data or reformatting the hard drive doesn’t actually alter or remove the data, but rather alters how the hard drive finds the data and combines it to make files: The data remains and may be recovered through a variety of utility software programs.
Yet another layer of security that can be added involves the ability to lock the hard drives using a passcode; this means that the data is protected, even if the drive is removed from the machine.
Finally, think ahead to how you will dispose of the data that accumulates on the copier over time. Check that your lease contract or purchase agreement states that your company will retain ownership of all hard drives at end-of-life, or that the company providing the copier will overwrite the hard drive.
When you use the copier
Take advantage of all its security features. Securely overwrite the entire hard drive at least once a month.
If your current device doesn’t have security features, think about how you will integrate the next device you lease or purchase into your information security plans. Plan now for how you will dispose of the copier securely. For example, you may want to consider placing a sticker or placard on the machine that says: “Warning: this copier uses a hard drive that must be physically destroyed before turn-in or disposal.” This will inform users of the security issues, and remind them of the appropriate procedures when the machine reaches the end of its usable life.
In addition, your organization’s IT staff should make sure digital copiers connected to your network are securely integrated. Just like computers and servers that store sensitive information, networked copiers should be protected against outside intrusions and attacks.
When you finish using the copier
Check with the manufacturer, dealer, or servicing company for options on securing the hard drive. The company may offer services that will remove the hard drive and return it to you, so you can keep it, dispose of it, or destroy it yourself. Others may overwrite the hard drive for you. Typically, these services involve an additional fee, though you may be able to negotiate for a lower cost if you are leasing or buying a new machine.
One cautionary note about removing a hard drive from a digital copier on your own: hard drives in digital copiers often include required firmware that enables the device to operate. Removing and destroying the hard drive without being able to replace the firmware can render the machine inoperable, which may present problems if you lease the device. Also, hard drives aren’t always easy to find, and some devices may have more than one. Generally, it is advisable to work with skilled technicians rather than to remove the hard drive on your own.
Protecting Sensitive Information: Your Legal Responsibility
The FTC’s standard for information security recognizes that businesses have a variety of needs and emphasizes flexibility: Companies must maintain reasonable procedures to protect sensitive information. Whether your security practices are reasonable depends on the nature and size of your business, the types of information you have, the security tools available to you based on your resources, and the risks you are likely to face.
Depending on the information your business stores, transmits, or receives, you also may have more specific compliance obligations. For example, if you receive consumer information, like credit reports or employee background screens, you may be required to follow the Disposal Rule, which requires a company to properly dispose of any such information stored on its digital copier, just as it would properly dispose of paper information or information stored on computers. Similarly, financial institutions may be required to follow the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Safeguards Rule, which requires a security plan to protect the confidentiality and integrity of personal consumer information, including information stored on digital copiers.
Common Computer Security Threats
It's a dangerous world out there in cyberspace. Security threats are escalating every year and have become more malicious with cybercriminals entering the scene stealing financial and personal information. Cell phones and automobiles are becoming more computerized, and hackers have an even wider selection of devices to infect with malicious threats. With so many pluggable devices available coming on the market, new areas of exposure are created.
Here's a quick look at some of today's most common computer security threats:
Protect Your Business from Corporate Account Takeover
What would you do if you suddenly noticed that huge chunks of money had been drained from your business account into overseas accounts? Unfortunately, online criminals are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to commit payments fraud against commercial business accounts. Let's take a closer look at corporate account takeover, how federal regulators and financial institutions are collaborating to help you to prevent it from happening to your business, and finally your responsibility to protect yourself.
What is Corporate Account Takeover?
Corporate account takeover is a type of fraud where thieves gain access to a business' finances to make unauthorized transactions, including transferring funds from the company, creating and adding new fake employees to payroll, and stealing sensitive customer information that may not be recoverable. Thousands of businesses have fallen victim to this type of fraud, and the losses have ranged from a few thousand to several million dollars.
Consumer bank accounts enjoy a certain level of protection that business bank accounts do not. Under Regulation E, there are liability limitations for unauthorized electronic fund transfers affecting consumer bank accounts. Business bank accounts do not get this kind or protection. So when business accounts are compromised, they often lose all or at least some of their money.
Customer vs. Bank
A good example of this is the court case between Patco Construction Company and their financial institution Ocean Bank. Patco computers had become infected with malware allowing fraudsters to make six wire transfers using the Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfer system amounting to more than $588,000. Only $243,000 of the stolen money was recovered. What ensued was a three-year court battle between the company and their financial institution to decide who was at fault. In the end, both were losers. Businesses and banks aren't only losing millions to fraud; they are losing millions more in legal costs, productivity losses and negative PR. The only winners in these cases are the cybercriminals.
What regulators & banks are doing to prevent corporate account takeover
In an effort to protect both consumers and businesses from financial fraud, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) has implemented and will continue to establish new security guidelines for financial institutions. These guidelines enforce the implementation of a layered security approach, risk assessments and customer security education and awareness. You can learn more about this from your financial institution.
The question remains, "In light of the increasing and more sophisticated cyber threats, who is ultimately responsible for ensuring the security of your bank account?" The financial institution must protect their online banking technology and ensure the security of online transactions, but what responsibility does the customer have to protect their own computing systems against attack? Today security is a shared responsibility between the financial institution and the customer.
As in the case of Patco Construction, corporate account takeover attacks today are typically perpetrated quietly by the introduction of malware through a simple phishing email, a deceptive social engineering ploy, or an infected website. For a business that has low resistance to such methods of attack, the malware introduced onto its system may remain undetected for weeks or even months.
How do I protect myself and my business?
The best way to protect against corporate account takeover is a strong partnership with your financial institution. Work with your bank to understand security measures needed within the business and to establish safeguards on the accounts that can help the bank identify and prevent unauthorized access to your funds.
A shared responsibility between the bank and the business is the most effective way to prevent corporate account takeover.
Consider these tips to ensure your business is well prepared:
Stay informed about defenses to Corporate Account Takeover. Since cyber threats change rapidly, it's imperative that you stay informed about evolving threats and adjust your security measures accordingly.
You and your employees are the first line of defense against corporate account takeover. A strong security program along with employee education about the warning signs, safe practices, and responses to a suspected takeover are essential to protecting your company and customers.
Protecting Customer Data
Trust is an essential element of customer relationships. When it comes to internet security, your customers trust you to protect the personal information they share with you.
You would never knowingly put them at risk, but lax computer security practices can do just that - jeopardize your customers' sensitive information and expose them to threats.
If your company has a website, communicates with customers via email, or stores customer information in an electronic database, you could be putting them at risk if you aren't taking the right precautions.
Gain Their Trust
The following information practices will help safeguard your customers' data and help them feel confident about doing business with you online.
Keeping your customers safe requires your own computer systems to be fully protected. The best policies in the world won't protect your customers if your network and resources are at risk for preventable attacks.
Protecting your network and systems requires a lot of the same steps as protecting a single computer, only on a larger scale.