Online Security Can Leave us More Vulnerable than Physical Security

The Washington Post published an article from earlier this month titled “A quintessentially American crime declines: Robbing banks doesn’t pay as it used to.” It is a reminder that electronic security can leave us more vulnerable than physical security -- at least as far as financial loss.

Last week I heard about an associate who wrote about his recent experience as the victim of a “Whaling” cyber attack and consequently lost $400K. This morning our accounting staff received a email from a hacker spoofing one of our executives requesting accounting wire funds to a “vendor”.

SOURCE: Washington Post

SOURCE: Washington Post

Physical security systems are important. However, just as we need to be alert in the physical world, we need to recognize that the internet is a dodgy neighborhood. We need to be alert and vigilant or we will eventually find ourselves the victim of one of these attacks.

Some steps we can take to protect ourselves from this sort of security breach:

  • Always use 2-factor authentication. This is critical to the point that any of our customers who need assistance setting this up should reach out to us. Your bank should offer this type of security as well.
  • Follow set procedures -- In the case of the $400K theft from Verne Harnish, the hacker was able to accomplish their objective because his travel and other circumstances resulted in a deviation from their standard procedure. In the case of the whaling email we received today, the issue was escalated because our accounting person pushed back that they would need to submit the request using our set procedures. 

Keep in mind the standard warnings about email security and attachments:

  • Don’t download any Microsoft documents are executable files even if you know who they are coming from- (easy to spoof!)
  • Keep software and OS versions current and patched.
  • Use good passwords and make sure they are different and complex for anything sensitive.

If you are an Urban Alarm customer and would like assistance assessing your computer security situation and tools please let us know. We would be happy to help secure your personal online security as well as the physical security of your home and business.