Online banking has made life a lot easier for all of us. Receiving or transferring funds can be done from the comfort of our home. There is no standing in queue or waiting for check clearance. But at the same time it has left us open to hackers and criminal who can get access to our bank accounts. These people generally target small businessmen and rural or small town banks because it becomes difficult for them to go after the crooks. They siphon off small amounts of money at a time which might be harder to detect. By the time the companies realize there is something wrong with their accounts the crooks have already taken a large amount. These companies lack the infrastructure or the technical knowhow or the funds to pursue these hackers.
So how do they work? First they install malicious software in your computer. There are many such software and Trojan horses that can tap into your database. The hackers usually send an email. Once you open the mail it contains a suspicious file or a link to a malicious web site. Once you access that website or open the file the malware is installed in your computer. Once this malware is in place it is a child’s play for the hackers to access all your financial data. These include bank login ids, passwords, credit card numbers and social security number and so on. With this information they can transfer money from your bank to off shore accounts that are virtually untraceable. This money, once gone, can’t be recovered.
These hackers are not small time petty thieves. They are well organized mafias. How are small businessmen to defend themselves against such crimes? Internet banking is the need of the day. It cannot be avoided. One solution to this is to install a good internet security antivirus that should be updated regularly. But even such measures are not 100% foolproof because criminals are also very tech savvy. Maintain one computer solely for the purpose of business transactions. Don’t use it to access the web or open your email. This way it will be hard for hackers to plant a malware in your system. Secondly keep in mind that most malware are created for popular operating systems. Opt for some obscure operating systems as the chances of malware for those will be less.
One can make certain security arrangements with the banks also. Restrict the amount of money transfer in a day and all transfers should be confirmed through phone calls. Ensure that all transactions should require the approval of two people. Check your bank balance and all transactions at the end of the day. Many transfers are made the next morning so that leaves you with some reaction time.
The problem what these small time businesses face are that they don’t have the financial resources to pursue these internet criminals. They should immediately contact a cyber cell or some similar law enforcement agency.