Tips: Protect Your Business From Online Banking Fraud

Guardian Analytics, a provider of fraud prevention software for the financial services industry, is advising businesses on the risks of Internet banking, and how they can protect their companies from becoming a victim of online banking fraud.

The need for businesses to examine their online business banking practices has never been more important. In August alone, the FDIC, NACHA -- The Electronic Payments Association, and the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) all published alerts warning about rising Internet threats to businesses.

Analyst firm Gartner issued a report on the issue in August, and last week the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a special hearing to discuss cybercriminals targeting small- and medium- sized businesses. Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-ME., have also started drafting legislation to address this as well as other cyber security issues, and is working to bring public and private organizations together to spearhead the initiative.

"In the last several weeks, business banking fraud has become a dominant discussion point in the financial and security industries," said Avivah Litan, VP and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "With cybercriminals circumventing strong authentication and using sophisticated reconnaissance on accounts during the attacks, increased fraud awareness has never been more important."

Terry Austin, Guardian Analytics CEO, provides the following advice to entrepreneurs to protect their companies against online banking fraud:

1. Be aware of your financial rights: If your business becomes the victim of online business banking fraud, you have fewer rights than you do as an individual. Regulation E of the Federal Electronic Funds Transfer Act requires banks to reimburse consumer fraud victims within 10 days of a fraud report, but it does not protect businesses the same way it protects individual accounts. Ask your bank what their policies are on protecting business accounts.

2. Ask your bank to increase investment in protection technologies: Your bank's online account platform is only as secure as the technology behind it. Ask your bank if they have a proactive online banking fraud monitoring system in place to detect suspicious account activity and how they are responding to the recent alerts. Despite increased regulations, many financial institutions still have not implemented the technologies beyond authentication that are necessary to fight today's sophisticated threats.

3. Update your anti-malware software and firewalls: Not keeping your anti-malware and firewalls updated is a huge risk for anyone, and even more so when it could jeopardize your businesses' entire financial health. Still, know that your business can fall victim even with updated computer security protection.

4. Monitor for irregularities and missing funds: It is imperative for any business to always be on the lookout for anything abnormal occurring in its account/s. Many banks offer transaction alerts so customers can be notified of important account activity, so ask your bank about this service.

5. Educate your financial managers on the threats: Forward the latest advisories on to whoever manages your online business banking accounts. If anyone needs to know about the threats, it is the person closest to your online banking account/s, whether that is the CEO, CFO or accountant.

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