Small Businesses Are Falling Victim to Banking Trojans
With so many of us using the internet, it is hard to remember what we did without it. You can find just about anything you want on the internet, whether it be information, shopping or even banking purposes. If you look back in history, banks have always been prone to thieves-which brings the questions, how safe is online banking?
Well according to the FBI and the American Bankers Association (ABA), it isn't as safe as we think it is. Hackers are finding ways to get banking Trojans on small business owners' computers. Studies done by the FBI in 2008 and 2009 state that the amount of money these cyber-thieves have stolen is around $100 million, with $40 million successfully pirated.
Small to mid-sized companies that use online banking are being hit the hardest. Steven Chabinsky, deputy assistant director of the FBI's Cyber Division, says that, "The bad guys are still out there breaking into customers' computers." With all this being said, it is important to take the proper precautions if your business provides credit card processing online.
The reason these Trojans work so well is because hackers set up web sites that look reputable, but instead unlock Trojans programs and viruses. A perfect example of how they do this is by emailing accounting departments an, "official-looking document from the criminal, then click on the link inside the e-mail. Once the user visits the Web site, the Trojan is active."
One tip the FBI and the ABA are sending to small businesses is to have one computer completely dedicated to just banking related issues. Do not have anyone check his or her email, or do anything else online on this station. Doing so can decrease your chances of being hacked by a banking Trojan.
Also make sure your anti-virus and malware programs are up to date. These software programs are there to keep your files safe and to make sure that your important information stays in tact, and in the right hands. If your company collects payments via an e-commerce site, you want to make sure that information doesn't get into the wrong hands when handling the payment process.
Also, keep your employees up-to-date. If there are multiple employees handling your businesses' banking information, keep them updated on the latest ways hackers are hurting small businesses. Trojans via email are usually the easiest way for these hackers to get in. On the flip side of this problem, you need to be aware someone might use a stolen credit card to make a purchase at your store or online. If you are starting a business and want your customers to be able to use a credit card, talk to merchant credit card processing services about what your responsibility for processing a fraudulent card is.
The fee for fraudulent charges could be large, so make sure you take proper precautions for processing the credit cards as well. Some quick tips are to make sure you see ID (if the charge is in person), check the verification code, and match the billing address to their current address. These might seem like common sense tasks, but make sure everyone who is processing credit cards for your company know how and that they do these types of procedures.
All in all the main point is to keep all sides of your credit card processing safe-for you and your customers. Hackers are always finding clever ways to get a hold of anyone's credit card information. It is your duty as a business owner to keep track of all your business transactions, as well as making sure you are getting all the information you will need to properly process a credit card. With the proper research and safety software, you should be able to deter cyber hackers from your small business.
Shannon Suetos is a writer based in San Diego, California. She writes extensively for Resource Nation, an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for credit card processing and merchant cash advance.
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