Your money in the bank is not as secure as you think. Banks don’t have gigantic vaults where every one of their clients’ cash is stored. Everything is digital now and almost anything digital is susceptible to a cyber attack.
What is a cyber attack? A cyber attack is a virtual assault by cyber criminals, also known as hackers, by using one or several computers to infiltrate an individual’s or an entire institution’s computer system in order to steal data or, more brazenly, disable the system and hold it for ransom.
Cyber attacks are on a sharp rise across the globe. In 2020 there was a sharp 300% increase in cyber crimes according to a report by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center with losses that exceeded a staggering $4.2 billion.
The industries that are in hackers’ crosshairs the most are small businesses, healthcare, government agencies, financial institutions, education and energy & utility companies.
The attacks have become so bold and sophisticated that some of the world’s largest corporations have become helpless victims and have reportedly paid millions of dollars in ransom. Below are some of these companies and the ransom, if any, they’ve paid to get their computer systems up and running again.
Colonial Pipeline Group hacked in May 2021. Their computer system was shut down which interrupted pipeline operations and caused a fuel shortage in the United States. They reportedly paid almost $5 million to the cyber criminals.
JBS SA is the world’s largest meat processing company. Their servers were hacked in May of this year which caused production delays for several days. JBS SA paid $11 million in ransom.
Capital One fell victim in July 2019 and is considered to be the largest data breach ever to hit a financial institution. Reportedly, about 100 million credit card applications were compromised by a lone hacker who was later caught. Capital One did not pay any ransom but they were fined $80 million by US regulators.
CNA Financial Group is one of the largest financial and insurance groups in the US. In March of this year, they experienced a ransomware attack which stole data and locked out CNA officials from the system. It’s been reported that CNA paid an astronomical $40 million in ransom.
These are just four out of thousands of organizations that have reported cyber attacks. For a list of reported cyber attacks in 2021, Cloudian, a Silicon Valley based data storage company, made public a list of cyber crime incidents which you can access with the link below.
What should I do with my money in the bank?
I’m not a financial advisor nor am I a financial security expert so I can’t tell you what to do with your money but I can share with you what steps I’ve taken in regards to my own wealth.
Safe at home
Earlier this year I invested in a small safe which I purchased through Amazon and began withdrawing the bulk of my money from the bank and storing it in the safe. I feel much better now that some of my money is within easy reach just in case my bank is ever hacked and ATMs are compromised or shut down.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
I opened accounts in two digital-only banks and began distributing some of the money in my main bank over to the two new bank accounts. So never put all your hard earned money in one basket. In case your main bank is ever compromised, you’ll have access to some of your money in another financial institution.
This year and the last have been challenging for the world and it’s not over yet. It seems there’s a new threat just simmering below the surface and ready to boil over, whether it’s a new mutation of the COVID virus,a newly detected trojan horse on the internet or massive social unrest. It’s important to stay sharp, informed and prepared. Proactivity is the key to surviving.