It's a scary world out there.  We can get robbed and not even know it these days.  You used to have to be in the wrong part of town, walking down a dark alley.  Now, you could be in your pajamas watching Virgin River and POOF...your money's gone!

I've seen big companies lose a LOT of money to scammers and hackers.  I've seen ransomware take down a whole computer infrastructure.  And it's rare to see them get any money back.

"Five Flags Center today announced the full recovery of funds that had been targeted by overseas financial hackers last month."

The Hack

Apparently, about a month ago, hackers tried to initiate a wire transfer of money from Five Flags Center’s account to an account based in Hong Kong. Once they noticed it, they sprung into action getting the FBI involved.  They had to find the source and stop the transfer before recovering the money.

Five Flags Center General Manager H.R. Cook said, "This situation has served as a reminder that these kinds of attacks can happen to anyone and we all need to take proper precautions.”

To put a positive spin on this, Five Flags Center and MidWestOne Bank have provided some tips on avoiding this kind of hack, which is known as Account Takeover Fraud:

Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash
Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash
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- Educate your employees. You and your employees are the first line of defense against corporate account takeover. A strong security program paired with employee education about the warning signs, safe practices, and responses to a suspected takeover are essential to protecting your company and customers.

Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash
Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash
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- Protect your online environment. It is important to protect your cyber environment just as you would your cash and physical location. Do not use unprotected internet connections. Encrypt sensitive data and keep updated virus protections on your computer. Use complex passwords and change them periodically.

Photo by Nahel Abdul Hadi on Unsplash
Photo by Nahel Abdul Hadi on Unsplash
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- Partner with your bank to prevent unauthorized transactions. Talk to your banker about programs that safeguard you from unauthorized transactions. Positive Pay and other services offer call backs, device authentication, multi-person approval processes and batch limits help protect you from fraud.

Photo by AltumCode on Unsplash
Photo by AltumCode on Unsplash
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- Pay attention to suspicious activity and react quickly. Look out for unexplained account or network activity, pop ups, and suspicious emails. If detected, immediately contact your financial institution, stop all online activity and remove any systems that may have been compromised. Keep records of what happened.

Photo by Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash
Photo by Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash
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- Understand your responsibilities and liabilities. The account agreement with your bank will detail what commercially reasonable security measures are required in your business. It is critical that you understand and implement the security safeguards in the agreement. If you don’t, you could be liable for losses resulting from a takeover. Talk to your banker if you have any questions about your responsibilities.

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