Since the much-debated hacks of the Russians into our election process, cyber-security has received heightened attention. Cyber-security involving financial transactions or critical information of its customers is of highest concern. So what can we do to help law enforcement when we report cybersecurity suspicious activity? In October 2016, FinCEN provided some insights. If the suspicious activity aggregates to $5,000 or more, filing a cybersecurity SAR is mandatory. Voluntary filing is encouraged particularly if banking operations were disrupted (ex: website or online banking was unavailable).
Do you know how to really get their attention? Keywords! Keywords are a useful resource to law enforcement when they are scouring thousands of SARs to identify the most urgent ones. And in the case of cyber security, those keywords include:
* Cyber Event – An attempt to compromise or gain unauthorized electronic access to electronic systems, services, resources, or information.
* Cyber-Enabled Crime – Illegal activities (ex: fraud, money laundering, identity theft) carried out or facilitated by electronic systems and devices, such as networks and computers.
* Cyber-Related Information – Information that describes technical details of electronic activity and behavior such as IP addresses, timestamps, and “Indicators of Compromise” (IOCs). It also includes (but is not limited to) data regarding the digital footprint of individuals and their behavior.
So the next time you sense an unauthorized wire transfer, a malware attachment, a computer intrusion, or ransom-ware, get that SAR filing going and use meaningful language! Financial institutions play an important role in protecting our financial system from cyber-security thugs.