man pressing data protection button

Corporate Account Takeover

What is Corporate Account Take Over

Corporate Account Takeover is an evolving electronic crime typically involving the exploitation of businesses of all sizes, especially those with limited to no computer safeguards and minimal or no disbursement controls for use with their bank’s online business banking system. These businesses are vulnerable to theft when cyber thieves gain access to its computer system to steal confidential banking information in order to impersonate the business and send unauthorized wire and ACH transactions to accounts controlled by the thieves. Municipalities, school districts, large non-profit organizations, corporate businesses, and any customers that perform electronic transfers are potential targets.  Losses from this form of cyber-crime range from the tens of thousands to the millions with the majority of these thefts not fully recovered.  These thefts have affected both large and small banks.

This type of cyber-crime is a technologically advanced form of electronic theft.  Malicious software, which is available over the Internet, automates many elements of the crime including circumventing one time passwords, authentication tokens, and other forms of multi-factor authentication. Customer awareness of online threats and education about common account takeover methods are helpful measures to protect against these threats.  However, due to the dependence of banks on sound computer and disbursement controls of its customers, there is no single measure to stop these thefts entirely.  Multiple controls or a “layered security” approach is required.

Business Email Compromise

A current scam targeting corporate clients is Business Email Compromise in which a legitimate business email account is compromised through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques to impersonate an executive and conduct the unauthorized transfers of funds. The key to reducing the risk from BEC is to understand the criminals’ techniques and deploy effective payment risk mitigation processes. (See the News and Resources section below for more information.)

Losses associated with these frauds can be substantial and devastating to the business. As banks have implemented controls to detect, prevent and respond to these frauds, businesses must do the same. Banks play an important role in this partnership by educating their corporate clients on the evolving risks, providing them with tips to identify these threats, and ensuring the customers take advantage of security controls offered by the bank to protect them.

Basic Online Security Practices

  • Education is Key – Train your employees
  • Secure your computer and networks
  • Limit Administrative Rights -Do not allow employees to install any software without receiving prior approval.
  • Install and Maintain Spam Filters
  • Surf the Internet carefully
  • Install & maintain real-time anti-virus & anti-spyware desktop firewall & malware detection & removal software. Use these tools regularly to scan your computer. Allow for automatic updates and scheduled scans.
  • Install routers and firewalls to prevent unauthorized access to your computer or network. Change the default passwords on all network devices.
  • Install security updates to operating systems and all applications as they become available.
  • Block Pop-Ups
  • Do not open attachments from e-mail -Be on the alert for suspicious email
  • Do not use public Internet access points
  • Reconcile Accounts Daily
  • Note any changes in the performance of your computer Dramatic loss of speed, computer locks up, unexpected rebooting, unusual popups, etc.
  • Make sure that your employees know how and to whom to report suspicious activity to at your Company & the Bank
  • Contact the Bank if you:
    – Suspect a Fraudulent Transaction
    – If you are trying to process an ACH Batch & you receive a maintenance page.
    – If you receive an email claiming to be from the Bank and it is requesting personal/company information.