Money Mondays: Prepare for a Cyber Attack on Your Bank

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

In the last few weeks, we’ve seen news reports that U.S. banks are facing an increased risk of cyber attacks.  We’ve been warning about this for some time now, but the threat seems to be escalating that federal officials are now warning banks to closely monitor hacking attempts.

According to Fox Business news: 

Financial institutions are attractive targets to hackers because of their wealth of sensitive consumer information. Moreover, a successful attack on a financial institution has the potential to cause market turmoil. (source)

This announcement also comes in the heels of a recent warning about a potential ATM hack.  ABC news reported:

Automated teller machines are potentially under attack across the world. The FBI is now warning American financial institutions about the possibility of cyber criminals carrying out a sophisticated scheme using malware to access personal bank card information.  (source)

What does this mean to you?

Some people might say, the bank should be insured against all this, why should we worry?  Actually, the worrisome part is the short term turmoil that can result if your bank became a victim of cyber attack that causes them to freeze all banking activities for a period of time.  Think about what would happen if you just got paid and cannot access your paycheck that was directly deposited in your bank account.  I’ve had my accounts frozen during a long holiday weekend due to identity theft and I can attest to how difficult it was.

If a bank’s records were compromised, you may have trouble proving how much money you keep in your account unless you have records to prove it.

How you can protect yourself

Emergency cash

You should have emergency cash on hand that you can use in case you cannot access your bank account.  You’ll still need money for food and gas to survive the short term period while the bank sorts things out.

Backup statements

I know a lot of people have opted out of paper statements, I have as well.  But if you needed to prove you own the account and how much money you normally keep, you’ll need backup documentation.

If you no longer receive paper statements, Another option would be to download your statements every month and store them in an external hard  drive or flash drive.

I used to think storing everything in my computer was enough, but it is very common to have a hard drive disaster or ransomware these days that storing in just one place is not enough.  Some people I know use paid cloud services, but I have not tried that so I prefer not to recommend things I have not tried myself.

Emergency supplies

Keep a supply of water and food for several days, so you do not need to worry about not having money to buy these necessities for a period of time.

Hopefully, you’ll never have to experience a bank cyber attack.  But it doesn’t hurt to be prepared just in case.


About the author:

Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.



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