Sunday, May 19 2024

For some, online banking is a useful tool. For others, it’s complicated and daunting. But for hackers and malicious software writers, it can be a gold mine.

This week, BB&T Payment Solutions Risk Manager Alan Wilson held a question and answer session with local business leaders. Wilson said there are about 100 million types of malicious software — dubbed malware — that affected about 12 million people last year, up 12 percent from 2012.

Malicious software, broken down into millions of lines of computer code, usually makes its way into your computer by way of a fraudulent e-mail that appears to be from a friend or a trusted source. In some circumstances, the sender’s account itself may have been compromised — and your e-mail address was targeted from the sender’s now public address book.

Wilson, whose office investigates fraudulent bank activity for BB&T, said criminals will always have the upper hand in cyber fraud. He narrowed the reasoning to continuous system vulnerabilities, malware bypassing established security controls and human error. He cited two the two lines of code that allowed hackers access to financial systems at Target, leaving the company with a $100 million in fraudulent credit card activity.

“It’s the first rule in boxing, it’s the first rule in risk management in banking,” Wilson said. “The bad guys, the malware writers, the fraudsters are out there — everywhere. And they are trying to get the information that these businesses have…and they’re trying to use that for evil.”

Wilson suggested business owners interested in keeping their financial systems secure set up a dedicated computer strictly for online account use.

“Go spend $495 on a PC that you can stick in a corner,” he said. “Don’t do anything on it except your online banking.”

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