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ACH cards, wire transfers tied to another major theft

Oct 30, 2012 Dave King

As ACH cards, wire transfers and other automated electronic payments become more commonplace in the enterprise, businesses need to ensure they are securing their systems to avoid stolen and lost information. Hackers and identity thieves do not need much to steal a large sum of money from businesses and individuals, making cybersecurity essential. More stories continue to hit the media involving cybercrimes that end up in hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses, while most could have been prevented by using software and best practices regarding electronically stored information. Even worse, some have gone on for years undetected, making it clear that businesses have not been paying enough attention to their accounts. Institution loses nearly half a million dollars
Computerworld recently reported that officials in Burlington, Washington, discovered a massive crime at a major bank's location this month. According to the news provider, cyber thieves stole $400,000 from one bank, and all employees and customers of the organization were notified because authorities felt their information was compromised. The source explained that ACH-based direct deposit and automated bill pay for employees and customers were the targets of the criminals, who successfully redirected the wire transfers into a fake fund. The authorities and bank were responsible for notifying all customers because of the data breach notification laws in place, though they still do not know for sure what amount was stolen, if any personal information of customers was disclosed or exactly how the criminals carried out the action. Organization and state officials do know about three large sums of money being transferred fraudulently to accounts on the East Coast, Computerworld noted. Still, law enforcement officials are not entirely sure that the crime is over, as the hackers could have obtained other personal and banking information that could be used for further theft. Likely the worst part of this crime, a nonprofit security firm had warned United States businesses and organizations that a major attack was imminent only a few days before the cyberthieves carried out the attacks. Diligence is key
The lesson learned from this and similar stories is that businesses need to keep a close eye on all ACH cards and other wire transfer accounts in the future. Though these payment methods do ensure timely transactions for regular bills, account holders cannot simply throw caution to the wind after setting their accounts to be withdrawn automatically.