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New Technology Creates Efficiencies; But Don’t Overlook Risks

by Jan Sheridan, Vice President Treasury Management Services, Union Bank & Trust

As technology progresses, businesses have several opportunities to create efficiencies in their operations. Unfortunately, criminals are also actively fine tuning their hacking abilities. Don’t be caught ill-informed! Here are some top cyber security trends to be aware of as we enter 2014, as identified by EPCOR’s Inside Origination.

Going Mobile
Every new smart phone, tablet or other mobile device provides another opportunity for a potential cyber-attack. If your business utilizes these devices or if you allow your employees to “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) to work, your security may be at risk. An attack may target corporate email and files, or even eavesdrop on phone calls and text messages.

New capabilities, such as NFC (Near Field Communication), will increase the opportunities for cyber criminals to exploit weaknesses. NFC allows for smartphones to communicate with each other by simply touching another smart phone, or being in close proximity to another smart phone or device with NFC capabilities. This technology is often used for credit card purchases and advertisements in airports and magazines. Risks with using NFC include eavesdropping—through which the cyber-criminal can intercept data transmission, such as credit card numbers—and transferring viruses or other malware from one NFC-enabled device to another.

Ransomware is a type of malware that is used for extortion. The attacker distributes malware that will take over a system by encrypting the contents or locking the system; the attacker then demands money from the victim in exchange for releasing the data and/or unlocking the system. Once payment is delivered, the attacker may or may not provide the data or access to the system. Even if access is restored, the integrity of the data is still in question.

Social Media
Social media sites go beyond just sharing personal information, as they are increasingly used for advertising, purchasing and gaming. Attackers may look to exploit the volume and variety of data being shared to credentials or other Personally Identifiable Information (PII), such as social security numbers.

Attacks carried out as cyber protests for politically or socially motivated purposes, or “just because they can” have increased, and are expected to continue in 2014. Common strategies used by hactivist groups include denial of service attacks and web-based attacks, such as SQL Injections. Once a system is compromised, the attacker will harvest data, such as user credentials, to gain access to additional data, emails, credentials, credit card data and other sensitive information.

Don’t wait for an attack to happen to your business before you take action. Your local bank and other technology support can help you protect your business. If you are looking for a partner in protecting your business from fraud, contact Union Bank for protections to your funds. Please call us at 402-323-1557.

Information courtesy of EPCOR, Inside Origination, April 2013.