Mentions of Chicago and the FBI might conjure images of men in fedoras with Tommy Guns, but modern crime is much more electronic than it used to be. With that in mind, the IPA recently held a session with the Chicago Field Office of the FBI where agents spoke about the trends in crime and payments.
This was the fourth Field Office event in a series that started last fall in Atlanta. Since then, we have also held sessions in New York and Minneapolis with the goal of forging connections between the payments community and law enforcement. The IPA thanks Discover Global Network for being our host in Chicago, and we would like to thank the agents and analysts of the FBI and its Office of Private Sector for providing excellent content.
The IPA wanted to share some high-level takeaways from the series of meetings.
First, agents in multiple field offices reported that nearly every case has a cyber component, especially in financial crimes. Systems are hacked, money is laundered, and criminals are paid electronically. This is why payments providers need to keep cybersecurity programs up to date and ensure that they are monitoring for unusual activity.
Second, payments providers are up against tough opposition. Criminals are working together to get information on companies and their customers. They sell credentials, identities, and even hacking software to one another on the dark web. The other threat payments providers face is nation-state attacks, where governments work to hack into systems. Countries like Russia, China, and North Korea are putting their intelligence agencies to work to hack into companies around the world.
Third, people can be the greatest threat or resource for any organization. Employees at all levels need to be trained to practice safe cyber security habits and how to spot suspicious e-mails or phone calls. They also need to know how to verify requests for information or payment. Additionally, companies should have a plan in place for what to do if a hack does occur and ensure that employees know their roles in the defense before chaos ensues.
Finally, expertise needs to be shared. FBI agents and analysts are intelligent and well-trained, but they are not payments experts. Payments providers know their industry and security, but they are not experts in criminal investigations and arrests. Both sides need to work together to share their expertise so that crime can be prevented, mitigated, or prosecuted.
Be on the lookout for more events and more information on these and other topics from the IPA.
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