Your bank account might have been hacked…or not

Written on:September 1, 2011
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In the 21st century, it is impossible to NOT have a bank account.  Not that long ago, one could keep their money under ones’ mattress, but not anymore.  So, since we are all forced to rely on our banks, we have the right to expect them to keep our money safe.  And, if their security is breached, surely they are obliged to tell us, right?

Apparently not.  Some Belgium banks were infiltrated over the last couple of weeks, allowing up to 90% of a “handful” of victims’ accounts to be stolen via a Trojan Horse.  They have tried to place the blame back upon their customers, “warning” them to close pop-up windows and alike when internet banking with these banks.  Personally, two of my internet banking service providers require me to log in via a pop-up window, and they always have, so I, too, would view this as a regular screen and enter my login data accordingly – wouldn’t you?

Yes, we must take responsibility for ourselves, but this is really something that’s out of our hands, and we NEED our banks to protect our money, because we don’t have a choice but to use them.  We can choose between the different banks of course, but really, aren’t they all the same?

Sadly, the above hacking incident was not the first instance where these banks in this part of the world have been hacked; It also occurred in 2009, this time via an SQL injection. “Banks are notoriously known for keeping details about data breaches secret, and while this is somewhat understandable from a security perspective, people have a right to know that many times these are the result of basic programming errors, such as the ones reported in this article.”

What I don’t understand, as someone who is in the cyber security profession, is why these banks wait until they are breached in order to upgrade their system.  It’s more economical to upgrade to the latest and greatest security system available as soon as possible, than to lose money to a hacker.  Citigroup in the USA were also hacked, quite severely, in June of this year…now that I think of it, they are one of the banks with whom one logs in via a pop-up keypad…hmm…Earlier this month approximately US $20 million was stolen by some Ukrainian hackers, again from private accounts.

Whilst a lot of your personal banking security is completely out of your hands, there ARE some things that you can do in order to avoid breaches to your personal bank accounts when internet banking.  For starters, NEVER internet bank over wi-fi unless it is your personal wi-fi network that is password protected.  If even your pacemaker and insulin pump can be hacked over wi-fi (see previous articles from this column) then you can bet your bottom dollar that your bank account can be too…and if you internet bank over unsecured wi-fi, you WILL be betting your bottom dollar!

You can also keep your password private and safe – only share it with the people with whom you would share a toothbrush (hopefully, that is NO ONE!).  There are password managers and encryption options available, so that you can keep all of your passwords complicated enough to avoid them from being guessed, and make them unique to each site, so that if one is hacked, then they aren’t all compromised.

Before loading any “free” software, read the fine print and find out what it “requires access to” in order to operate.  Just today, a couple of “free” applications in the Google Chrome Web Store wanted to access ALL of my browsing history and future history, and my data from those sites – I think not!!!  The other day a friend invited me to video chat on Facebook, but the terms and conditions listed EVERYTHING from my Facebook account as being the required data it would need to operate; I declined that invitation, and let my friend know why, and they immediately removed the application from their profile too and thanked me for the “heads up”.

Next time you are on the telephone to your bank with a human, or are visiting a branch, ask them about the security they provide for you whilst internet banking, ie when did they last upgrade their system.  They work for you, they are your employees, therefore you have a right to know how they are protecting your money. Until next time, be safe and sensible.


One Comment add one

  1. scott says:

    i will never leave my money in any bank obama will shut down banks and money will be gone..i am so paranoid now of this evil scumbag..anything is possible..he is changing our forefathers most treasured item ever to be writin ..never before has this gone unchecked and no questions.until its done..this is not anything that i could even imagine times have been hard b4 but this is way outta all the other dollar slides in many decades..what will happen when huge armored mine safe with gun ports in 5 different big it will literally go right through a house..3700 of these for our streets drones swat military coast guard..national guard ready to kill at will with 1.6 billion hollow point rounds that are against the the law they are meant to kill only thing they do..what if he decides that everyone must go state by state.. he is capable of this i believe..america would have to really form a militia thats really skilled and they can somehow get together that will be our only hope..thats why i question sme peaceful protests at times its a coin toss really hes a traitor dictator and sociopath thats real he never tells anyone the truth never has..but americans still like him..cant wait to see the look on there faces on that fateful night..they will not be harmed because they are his followers..i willl be underground for days..maybe longer if they decide they like this old mbbile home park..they can have it no money left in soc. sec.which im on will be givin to the poor people old and injured..i will bet that soc.sec. will end soon after his military strike is over …..which cant last very long we are up against almost 5,000 troops some foreign.i am hopeful that his military wont follow his demands on they’re own people.but if they are here in that much force they are ready for something thats gonna be sad and quick..i am gonna go lay in my tunnel and dream of the good old days.

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