Protecting Your Business Financials from Malware

posted Jeff Becker 12/9/2015 in Banking

For businesses, keeping sensitive data and networks safe is a never-ending process. As soon as one threat is addressed, new ones appear in a different form. For instance, hackers created 317 million new pieces of malware in 2014. Malware includes computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, scareware and more. It can be present on websites and in emails, or hidden in downloadable files, photos, videos, freeware or shareware.

How do you know if malware has been downloaded? You should be concerned if you or your employees are experiencing any of the following:
  • Pop-up ads
  • New tool bars or programs suddenly appearing
  • Reports of others getting messages that the user did not send
  • Authorized users being locked out of computers
  • Sudden slowdown, freezes or crashes during basic tasks
For small businesses, one way to reduce malware risks to bank accounts is to dedicate one computer to do nothing but financial transactions. All employees must understand that there will be no email, no internet browsing and no ecommerce performed on this machine at any time. Using a dedicated device for financial transactions will reduce the risk of picking up malware from email or websites with malicious code installed.

Education is Your First Defense

So how do cybercriminals infiltrate businesses with all this malware? According to IBM’s “ 2014 Cyber Security Intelligence Index95 percent of all security incidents involve human error. Fraudsters, counting on weak security and data fatigue, bombard users with various schemes, including phishing and other social engineering attacks, to trick them into downloading malware. Once downloaded, criminals use this access point to find financial accounts and other sensitive information.

A strong security program is important, but businesses must pair this with employee education about the warning signs, safe practices, and responses to a suspected takeover. Remind employees regularly of the basic “dos and don’ts” of email security. Don’t open unexpected emails. Don’t open attachments until they’ve been scanned. Don’t download anything from websites you don’t trust implicitly and, even then, scan the download prior to allowing it onto your computer. Do run a periodic scan of your hard drive to check for malware. Do monitor your financial accounts regularly.

Technology Protection for Your Business

However, as technology grows more sophisticated it is increasingly difficult for users to tell if malware is running in the background. It’s important to use the best available technology to monitor your systems and accounts carefully for evidence of a malware attack.

All businesses should invest in anti-virus and anti-malware software for their systems. Protect network and data-security by backing up files daily. Monitor for security updates pushed out by technology vendors and install security patches and upgrades promptly.

If your business doesn’t have an in-house IT department with cyber security expertise, consider hiring a data security expert to audit your business and test internal and external security processes and provide ongoing education for employees.

It’s also important to find a banking partner who can help your business with the most up-to-date cyber security information and recommendations. Lincoln Savings Bank has a team of experts dedicated to cyber security. Our team maintains several layers of security measures, employee education materials, and technical recommendations for hardware and software capabilities.
Learn more about cybersecurity for businesses by downloading our FREE Cyber Security Guide or contact us at one of our many Iowa locations. Our business banking experts will be happy to assist you.

Lincoln Savings Bank, Member FDIC.

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