'Hackers now targeting small businesses'

by Jennifer A. Ng, BusinessMirror

Posted at May 10 2013 08:27 AM | Updated as of May 10 2013 04:27 PM

MANILA -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has warned small businesses especially those who use the Internet to make import and export transactions to be wary of cyber hacking.

The DTI issued the warning after receiving reports of increasing cases of hackers diverting online payments made by Filipino importers.

“Hackers advise Filipino importers to remit their payments to a different bank account through an e-mail message using their suppliers’ hacked e-mail accounts,” said Jerry Clavesillas, officer in charge of the Bureau of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development.

The DTI disclosed various variations of cyber-hacking incidents involving Filipino importers.

One incident involves a Filipino importer and a foreign supplier with the former’s final transaction payment diverted to the hacker’s bank account in the latter’s country. Another incident involves a Filipino importer and a foreign supplier with the former’s payment diverted to the hacker’s bank account outside the latter’s country.

“While authorities are currently investigating these incidents, we urge entrepreneurs to be vigilant and to protect themselves from these cybercrimes,” Clavesillas said.

He said the best way to avoid this scam is to call their suppliers and verify whether an e-mail detailing payment procedure came from them.

Hacking is a problem confronting many businesses. In the United States alone, experts estimate that cyberattacks cost trillions of dollars per year.