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Business Online Security Best Practices

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The best way to avoid becoming a victim of a cyberheist is to not let computer crooks into the computers you use to access your organization’s bank accounts online. The surest way to do that is to maintain a clean computer: Start with a fresh install of the operating system and all available security updates. Below are more tips to help you protect your money.

  • Use a dedicated system to access the bank’s site. The dedicated computer should be restricted from visiting all but a handful of sites necessary to interact with the bank and manage the organization’s finances. This can be done using custom firewall rules and hosts files. Remember that the dedicated system approach only works if you *only* access your bank’s site from locked-down, dedicated computers. Making occasional exceptions undermines the whole purpose of this approach.
  • If you must use a multi-purpose computer where you will check email, avoid clicking links in email. Also, set email to display without HTML formatting if possible.
  • Keep the operating system up-to-date with patches. It’s equally important to update the third-party software on your system, especially browser plugins. One leading cause of malware infections are exploit kits, which are attack tools stitched into hacked Web sites that exploit unlatched or undocumented vulnerabilities in widely-used browser plugins.
  • Remove any unneeded software from dedicated systems used to access the bank’s site, in particular, unneeded plugins (such as Java).
  • Avoid opening attachments in email that you were not expecting. Be particularly wary of emails that warn of some dire consequence unless you take action immediately.
  • Use a bookmark to access the bank’s site. Avoid “direct navigation,” which involves manually typing the bank’s address into a browser.
  • Consider taking advantage of ACH Positive Pay. Any item that meets the criteria you establish will automatically post to your account. Your company will be notified of any rejected electronic item(s) that do not meet your filter criteria. Upon receipt of the rejected items, you can then return them or conveniently add filter criteria for future electronic transactions.
  • Require two people to sign off on every transaction. This fundamental anti-fraud technique can help block cyberheists (and employee fraud).

Remember that anti-virus or other protective software is no substitute for common sense.