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orget Bonnie and Clyde. Today’s bank robbers don’t need masks or guns or getaway cars. Today’s criminals relax in remote locations, where they generate sophisticated software that compromises the security of financial institutions and allows them to remove large sums of money at their convenience. “The threat of cybercrime is getting bigger and bigger every day,” said Mike Thorell, president and CEO of Pinnacle Bank and chairman of the Arizona Bankers Association. “Even the smallest banks, who never thought they would move into the mobile space as quickly as they have, know that mobile banking is neccesary to attract new customers, but it’s also introduced a whole new level of risk.” Cyberattacks continue to be on the rise, according to software company Symantec, which estimates that crimes against firms in the United States — particularly financial institutions — increased by more than 40 percent in 2012. Experts expect cyberattacks to continue to be the crime of choice as few banks keep significant funds in retail locations. Richard McFeely, executive assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber,

Response, and Services Branch, put the level of concern related to cybercrime into perspective when he briefed the Senate last June. “It is difficult to overstate the potential impact these threats pose to our economy, our national security, and the critical infrastructure upon which our country relies,” he said. “The bottom line is we are losing data, money, ideas, and innovation to a wide range of cyber adversaries and much more is at stake.” IMPACT ON INDUSTRY Cyberattacks have become such a threat that President Barack Obama voiced concern during his State of the Union address about the increasing threat in criminal hacking against the banking industry. “Banks need to be extremely vigilant because the attacks made against the


Here is what experts said consumers can do to protect themselves from cybercrime:

Desirae D. Outcalt

Al Palimenio

Branch operations manager Biltmore Bank of Arizona

Vice president of information security Mutual of Omaha Bank

“Do not share user names and passwords ... Work with your bank to see what services they offer to assist in fraud prevention and detection.”

“Customers need to keep their computer systems and software up to date ... Customers must also install antivirus software that offers complete protection and keep it updated.” 93 AB | November-December 2013

AzBusiness November/December 2013  

Cyber scams and more. Read now.

AzBusiness November/December 2013  

Cyber scams and more. Read now.