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Best Practices for Businesses to Protect, Detect, and Respond

  • Protect
    • Educate employees on CATO.
    • Do not respond to or open attachments or click on links in unsolicited e-mails. If a message appears to be from your financial institution and requests account information, financial institutions do not send customers e-mails asking for passwords, credit card numbers, or other sensitive information.
    • Be wary of pop-up messages claiming your machine is infected and offering software to scan and fix the problem, as it could actually be malicious software that allows the fraudster to remotely access and control your computer.
    • Use a bookmark to access the bank’s site. Mistyping the bank’s address into a browser may send you to a look-alike phishing Web site or one that attempts to install malicious software.
    • Minimize the number of, and restrict the functions for, computer workstations and laptops that are used for online banking and payments. A workstation used for online banking should not be used for general web browsing, e-mailing, and social networking. Conduct online banking and payments activity from at least one dedicated computer that is not used for other online activity.
    • Do not leave computers with administrative privileges and/or computers with monetary functions unattended. Log/turn off and lock up computers when not in use.
    • Use/install and maintain spam filters.
    • Install and maintain real-time anti-virus and anti-spyware desktop firewall and malware detection and removal software. Use these tools regularly to scan your computer. Allow for automatic updates and scheduled scans.
    • Install routers and firewalls to prevent unauthorized access to your computer or network.
    • Change the default passwords on all network devices.
    • Change Passwords regularly, don’t share passwords and use mixed character passwords (i.e. special characters mixed with upper and lower-case letters)
    • Install security updates to operating systems and all applications, as they become available. These updates may appear as weekly, monthly, or even daily for zero-day attacks.
    • Block pop-ups.
    • Keep operating systems, browsers, and all other software and hardware up-to-date.
    • Make regular backup copies of system files and work files.
    • Encrypt sensitive folders with the operating system’s native encryption capabilities. Preferably, use a whole disk encryption solution.
    • Do not use public Internet access points (e.g., Internet cafes, public wi-fi hotspots (airports), etc.) to access accounts or personal information. If using such an access point, employ a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
    • Keep abreast of the continuous cyber threats that occur.
    • Enhance the security of your corporate banking processes and protocols
    • Initiate ACH and wire transfer payments under dual control using two separate computers. For example: one person authorizes the creation of the payment file and a second person authorizes the release of the file from a different computer system. This helps ensure that one person does not have the access authority to perform both functions, add additional authority, or create a new user ID.
    • Talk to your financial institution about Positive Pay and other services such as call backs and batch limits which help to protect companies against altered checks, counterfeit check fraud and unauthorized ACH transactions.
    • If, when logging into your account, you encounter a message that the system is unavailable, contact your financial institution immediately.
    • Understand your responsibilities and liabilities. Familiarize yourself with your institution’s account agreement. Also, be aware of your liability for fraud under the agreement and the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), as adopted in the jurisdiction, as well as for your responsibilities set forth by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), should you accept credit cards.

  • Detect
    • Monitor and reconcile accounts at least once a day.
    • Discuss the options offered by your financial institution to help detect or prevent out-of-pattern activity (including both routine and red flag reporting for transaction activity).
    • Note any changes in the performance of your computer such as a dramatic loss of speed, changes in the way things appear computer locks up so the user is unable to perform any functions, unexpected rebooting or restarting of your computer, an unexpected request for a one time password (or token) in the middle of an online session, unusual pop-up messages, new or unexpected toolbars and/or icons, inability to shut down or restart.
    • Anti-virus software should alert to potential viruses. If you receive a warning message, contact your IT professional immediately.
    • Be on the alert for rogue emails. If someone says they received an email from you that you did not send, you probably have malware on your computer. You can also check your email “outbox” to look for email that you did not send.
    • Run regular virus and malware scans of your computer’s hard drive
    • If you receive wire instructions via email always use the contact number you have on file to call back your contact at the company requesting the wire transfer to make sure it is legitimate.
  • Respond
    • If you detect suspicious activity, immediately cease all online activity and remove any computer systems that may be compromised from the network.
    • Disconnect the Ethernet cable and/or any other network connections (including wireless connections) to isolate the system from the network and prevent any unauthorized access.
    • Make sure your employees know how and to whom to report suspicious activity to within your company and at your financial institution.
    • Immediately contact your financial institution so that the following actions may be taken such as disable online access to accounts, change online banking passwords, open new account(s) as appropriate.
    • Request that the financial institution’s agent review all recent transactions and electronic authorizations on the account. If suspicious active transactions are identified and they are still pending, cancel them immediately.
    • Ensure that no one has added any new payees, requested an address or phone number change, created any new user accounts, changed access to any existing user accounts, changed existing wire/ACH template profiles, changed PIN numbers or ordered new cards, checks or other account documents be sent to another address.
    • Maintain a written chronology of what happened, what was lost, and the steps taken to report the incident to the various agencies, financial institutions, and firms impacted
    • Be sure to record the date, time, contact telephone number, person spoken to, instructions, and any relevant report or reference number.
    • File a police report and provide the facts and circumstances surrounding the loss
    • Obtain a police report number with the date, time, department, location and officer’s name taking the report or involved in the subsequent investigation. Having a police report on file will often help facilitate the filing of claims with insurance companies, financial institutions, and other establishments that may be the recipient of fraudulent activity.
    • The police report may result in a law enforcement investigation into the loss with the goal of identifying, arresting and prosecuting the offender, and possibly recovering losses.
    • Depending on the incident and the circumstance surrounding the loss, investigating officials may request specific data be recorded and some or all of the system’s data may need to be preserved as potential evidence.
    • Have a contingency plan to recover systems suspected of compromise.
    • Report exposures to PCI DSS. If your business accepts credit cards, you are subject to compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and you may be required to report and investigate the incident, limit the exposure of the cardholder data, and report the incident to your card company.
    • If you experience a loss, we recommend that you file a police report. You may also choose to file a complaint online. For substantial losses, contact your local FBI field office, your local United States Secret Service field office, or the Secret Service's local Electronic Crimes Task Force.

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