OHIO VALLEY — Both Farmers Bank and Ohio Valley Bank hosted a cybersecurity summit with local businesses Thursday in Gallipolis and Pomeroy to answer questions and inform community members about the dangers of hackers and electronic fraud perpetrators.
Chistopher Joseph, a cybersecurity consultant, spoke to community members in Gallipolis at a 2 p.m. session at the Ohio Valley Bank Annex Community Room and in Pomeroy at 6:30 p.m. at the Farmers Bank Pomeroy Community Room. According to him, cyber attacks have existed for as long as the internet. Gary Stewart, information technology officer with Ohio Valley Bank, agreed with him.
According to Stewart, the one answer to all cybersecurity related questions was “it depends.” Cybersrecurity can range from individuals attempting to hack into someone’s system, to stealing credit card information by using “skimming” machines to copy numbers as well as individuals simply calling on the phone and pretending to be an official organization in hopes an unsuspecting victim will give away their personal information.
According to the pair, much of the cybersecurity industry is one step behind hackers and fraud actors as they often react to new techniques developed by criminals. With that in mind, cybersecurity experts advise that businesses and employees pay attention to current updates with antivirus battling software, firewalls and malware destroyers. Experts also advise businesses to pay special attention to their IT department’s advice in dealing with cyber threats.
As always, it is advised by cybersecurity consultants that businesses and individuals never hand out personal information or bank account numbers to individuals they are not a 100 percent certain represent the correct organizations. It is not uncommon for individuals to receive emails or phone calls from entities pretending to be credit card agencies or even the IRS. Criminals will often ask potential victims to “verify” information in order to collect data that can then be used to steal money, enact identity theft scams or similar situations.
The pair advised that cyber threats and theft did not always come over the internet. Sometimes it was as simple as an individual loading a USB drive into a computer and stealing information or uploading a virus from the drive. With the nature of crime ever evolving, so have security techniques. Layered security often asks for passwords, personal questions as well as account numbers to add levels of protection.
Stewart and Joesph again agreed that the need for cybersecurity would not diminish anytime soon and would only continue to evolve to catch up with the next scam or attack enacted on private or public entities.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.