When people think of bank robberies, certain images come to mind. They often picture men with stockings pulled over their faces wielding guns and shouting orders at tellers while customers cower in fear. According to a recent report, up to 4,000 of those conventional scenarios still take place every year in the United States despite current security measures. Of course, it’s also fair to mention that thieves don’t even have to enter banks to get what they’re looking for these days.
Though technology is certainly a boon for banks and their customers, it can also be a major drawback in many ways. Financial institutions are being forced to take extra precautions to minimize security risks fostered by technology. That means fully understanding the threats that are often overlooked.
RFID readers gather information from debit and credit cards. Thieves can simply slip into line behind someone at the bank and use RFID readers hidden in their pockets to steal unsuspecting victims’ information. Bank officials and customers are none the wiser. This is a process known as skimming or digital pickpocketing, and it’s an opportunity for criminals to discreetly commit theft and fraud. Devices like these can even be hidden in card readers, ATMs, and other machines people tend to trust with their debit cards.
It’s no secret that electronic equipment is facilitating banking and onsite security. That includes computers, phones, and surveillance cameras to name a few common devices. Unfortunately, those devices can also pave the way for criminal activity. Imagine a potential wrongdoer is interested in stealing people’s bank account information and looking for a surefire way to commit such a crime. What would be an effective option?
Some have found that all they have to do is get a job with a company that manufactures or installs digital equipment or security cameras for financial institutions. That’s just the opportunity they need to install hidden fraud gateways in those items. Those booby traps could allow them access to a bank’s databases, including customers’ account numbers and other sensitive information. They could also allow wrongdoers to secretly control security cameras and zoom in on computer screens, bank employee’s activities, and customers bank account numbers.
Supply Chain Defects
Banks have several links in their supply chains. Manufacturers of the digital devices they use are part of the picture, but they’re not the only potential security threats. Software developers and third-party merchant services providers can be weak links as well. Even remote workers employed by the banks themselves can open the door for security breaches. Workers with access to banks’ databases and other files need only open an email containing malware, spyware, SQL injections, phishing attacks, or other measures to leave the institutions vulnerable.
Keeping the Threats at Bay
Numerous measures can be taken to help keep those threats and many others at bay. For one, banks should take care to work only with trusted equipment suppliers who keep close watch over their employees. People who enter financial institutions can also be screened for RFID-related equipment. If such devices are detected, those caught with them can be dealt with accordingly.
At the same time, employees who have access to banks’ databases and other vital files should be thoroughly educated on the potential dangers that lurk in the physical and virtual worlds. They’ll be more mindful of the roles they could inadvertently play in hackers’ attacks.