Schowalter warns business owners, customers that vigilance is needed to counter ‘account takeover’
Officials at Port Washington State Bank are using their connections in the business community to take a cautionary stand against cybercrime.
“Small businesses remain in the crosshairs of cybercriminals,” said Port State Bank President and CEO Steve Schowalter in promoting Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
“You can shield your company from attack through a strong partnership with your financial institution.”
Schowalter noted that cybercriminals have become increasingly sophisticated, gaining access to sensitive business information through fraudulent emails, malicious software and online log-in sites.
The process of illegally using business data is called “account takeover.”
By working closely with their financial institution, Schowalter said, small businesses can ensure fund transfers, payroll requests and withdrawals are legitimate and accurate.
“We are far more effective at combatting account takeover when we combine resources than going at it alone. We can teach you about the tools your business can use to minimize this threat,” he said.
The bank is urging business customers to follow simple steps to guard against cyber fraud.
n Educate employees about the warning signs of cybercrime, safe practices and responses.
n Protect online transactions through encryption, secure passwords and virus protection.
n Work with your bank to set up protocols for online transactions, such as requiring callback confirmations and multi-person approval, and setting batch limits.
n Pay attention to suspicious activity and react immediately, including blocking all online activity within a compromised account.
n Understand the responsibilities and liabilities spelled out in any account agreement with a financial institution.
Schowalter made a similar warning to private banking customers who need to be vigilant against computer-driven crimes.
“As cybercrime becomes more prevalent, it is important for users to take steps to protect themselves online,” he said.
“Safeguarding your personal information and money is a partnership between you and your bank. We work diligently to protect your information, and so should you.”
If you receive a fraudulent business email called phishing, authorities suggest it be forwarded to the Federal Trade Commission at