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How Fifth Third Bank stops hackers, fraud and money laundering

Bank opens Cyber Fusion Center for public tours
Posted at 7:50 AM, Feb 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-07 07:50:10-05

CINCINNATI -- Fifth Third Bank opened a new cybersecurity center at its downtown Cincinnati headquarters in December, and it’s already played a role in several arrests.

“We’ve seen the benefit,” said Brian Minick, chief information security officer for Fifth Third. “It allows you to connect dots in ways that we were previously not able to do.”

Fifth Third opened its Cyber Fusion Center to public tours this week, giving local educators and law enforcement professionals a chance to see how the bank’s prevention experts in fraud, money laundering and computer hacking analyze terrabytes of data daily to identify local and global threats.

“The Internet is a bad neighborhood,” said Minick. “It delivers the criminals to your front door instantaneously.”

The Center for Strategic and International Studies pegged the cost of cybercrime at up to $600 billion in 2017 with three countries – Russia, North Korea and Iran – the most active in hacking financial institutions.

Fifth Third wouldn’t give details on the parts the globe where it faces the biggest threats. It said a staff of about 150 employees and contractors stand guard against those perils. They hunt not only for external threats, but monitor transactions and potentially harmful employee activity within the bank.

“We focus on preventing those threats, stopping them,” he said. “And then when the preventions fail, we measure how quickly are we able to detect those failures? How quickly are we able to respond and contain those failures?”

One reason for opening the Cyber Fusion Center to public tours is to encourage the development of IT talent in the region.

“Cincinnati actually has a higher concentration of cybersecurity talent than most cities its size,” Minick said. “But there’s still a gap.”