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Letter to the Editor - The Fresno Bee

Letter to the EditorLarge banks deploy sophisticated security systems against cyber-crime. Smaller banks are more vulnerable. That makes companies, which use these institutions convenient targets since there often is insufficient security measures in place to stop them.

One victim that refused to go quietly into the night was TRC Operating Company, based in Taft, California. The oil drilling and production enterprise was banking with United Security Bank of Fresno when it lost $300,000 in a cyber-attack last November. Only after online-criminals had initiated three transfers for nearly $600,000 and tried another nine transfers for nearly $3 million more did USB contact TRC. While "clawbacks" recovered some of the transferred funds, the bank refused to make good TRC’s losses, forcing the company to file suit.

Financial institutions have little incentive to take responsibility if they can shift the costs of their failures onto their customers.

Government must act. Individuals bank with confidence because financial institutions are responsible for losses due to cyber-attacks. Government should extend those consumer protections to commercial accounts and take responsibility for protecting both their assets and their customers'. If they refuse, Washington policymakers must act.

Karen McCarthy, owner of Little & King Co., LLC, fell victim to cyber theft in 2010 to the tune $165,000. Outraged, she started the Cyber Looting Awareness Security Project (CLASProject) and when her financial institution, TD Bank, refused to take any accountability.