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Cybercrooks Target Houston Small Businesses

Cyber criminals cost American companies billions of dollars each year. But it's not just multinationals with deep pockets at risk.



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When Frank Keating was an FBI agent, a crook who wanted to rob a small business had two options — forge checks or walk in with a gun. The former Oklahoma governor now heads the American Bankers Association, and the bad guys have gotten a lot more sophisticated.

“You can have somebody 5,000 miles away suck basically the payroll account, or the savings account, or whatever the payment account is out of that bank by a cyber attack.”

Keating says cyberattacks on small business’ bank accounts have more than tripled since 2009.

“In Houston, for example, there are significant attacks, because that’s where the money is. Houston’s a wealthy city, lots of headquarters companies, lot of ancillary businesses that service those companies, particularly in the energy industry.”

Keating says working closely with their banks to tighten security on who can access their accounts can help businesses reduce their vulnerability to such attacks.

Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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