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Entries in Online Banking (3)

Thursday
Sep272012

Hackers, Possibly from Middle East, Block US Banks' Websites

Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The financial and banking industries are on high alert Thursday night as a massive cyberattack continues, with potentially millions of customers of Bank of America, PNC and Wells Fargo finding themselves blocked from banking online.

"There is an elevated level of threat," said Doug Johnson, a vice president and senior adviser of the American Bankers Association. "The threat level is now high."

"This is twice as large as any flood we have ever seen," said Dick Clarke, an ABC News consultant and former cybersecurity czar.

Sources told ABC News that the so-called denial of service attacks had been caused by hackers from the Middle East who had secretly transmitted signals commandeering thousands of computers worldwide.

Those computers -- or "zombies" -- were then used to overwhelm bank websites with a barrage of electronic traffic.

Different banks have been targeted on different days.

Thursday was PNC Bank's turn: For three hours, ABC News tried to get on the PNC website to no avail.

On Facebook, a frustrated customer, Cynthia Schirm, wrote, "Trying to pay bills. This is ridiculous."

"Hopefully it can be up soon," wrote Stacy Briggs-Gerlach. "Never realized how dependent I am on it!!!"

A group of hackers calling themselves Izz ad-Din al-Qassam warned the financial industry that it was going to attack in retaliation for the controversial film "The Innocence of Muslims," which provoked outrage across the Muslim world earlier this month.

The U.S. said it suspected that hackers in Iran were also involved.

"This is the first time that we know about, where a Middle Eastern entity, perhaps a Middle Eastern government, has attacked websites, critical infrastructure, in the United States," Clarke said.

Even though hackers have not been able to steal any money during these attacks, authorities say they fear the next generation of widescale cyber assaults could be more devastating.

"If they get inside the banks, they can move money around and cause financial chaos," Clarke said.

ABC News obtained a Sept. 17 FBI alert warning that foreign hackers were targeting bank and credit union workers.

In a number of those cases, the hackers stole employee login credentials and then wired themselves between $400,000 and $900,000.

Sources told ABC News that the U.S. government was actively working to locate and disrupt the massive attacks.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct162011

Online Banking Keeps Customers Hooked Despite Fees

Jin Lee/Bloomberg/Getty Images(NEW YORK) – Even amid higher bank fees, online banking is leaving customers reluctant to switch their bank for a new one.

The New York Times reports that online banking services like online bill paying is keeping some customers dependent on their bank, making it more complicated for them to leave their bank, even as some, like Bank of America, plan to hit customers with a $5 monthly debit card fee in 2012.

The expansion of online bill payment has made it possible for Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and SunTrust to gain revenue by tacking on new fees on customer accounts, according to former bankers and market researchers.

Nationwide, 44 million households used the Internet to pay a bill in the past 30 days—up from 32 million five years ago, according to a marketing study commissioned by Fiserv, which develops systems for online bill transactions.

The study showed that online banking—making automatic deductions and sending electronic checks—reduced customer turnover for banks by up to 95 percent in some cases.

Overall, studies reports that customers with a high level of online bill pay usage are significantly more profitable over a longer term, than those who do not adopt online bill pay.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

Friday
Jun102011

Citibank Breach: Six Tips to Bank Online Safely

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Citibank acknowledged that a data security breach has exposed information on about 210,000 of its bankcard customers.  While these data breaches seem to be growing more commonplace, experts offer tips to make online banking more secure.

Citi's incident, one of the first known hacking cases at a bank, compromised data including credit card account numbers, names and contact information like email addresses.  There have been several other public hacking announcements this year from Sony, Lockheed Martin, and Michael's Stores, leaving consumers feeling overwhelmed by security concerns.

Adam Levin, co-founder of Credit.com and former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, said it is best for consumers to carry the mindset that there will be more data breaches in the future.

"The level of sophistication of hacking has grown exponentially," Levin said.  "And the bad guys are ahead of the good guys."

Avivah Litan, security analyst with technology research and advisory firm Gartner, said that for both online banking and online credit card management, consumers have "very good protection" under a rule set forth by the Federal Reserve called Regulation E that limits consumer liability for unauthorized card usage.  Though consumers may experience an inconvenience, they will almost always recover financially, she said.

Large businesses usually can afford security protection for their banking.  But Litan said online banking for small businesses is "very risky" because Regulation E does not apply to businesses.

To limit the exposure of you or your business in online banking, here are some tips from some security experts:

1. Never accept incoming communications purporting to be from financial institutions you do business with, whether by email or phone call.

"Call them back using only the phone numbers published on your cards or statements," Richard Wang, manager of SophosLabs US, said.

2. Update your security software on your computer.

"Make sure it's malware protection and have the most sophisticated firewalls and anti-intrusion software," Levin said.  "Those start screaming at you anytime you're even near something that has a worm on it."

3. Check the security of your mobile device and your mobile banking apps.

Mobile banking and payments are becoming more common, which means hackers may pay more attention in that marketplace also.

Andrew Hoog, chief investigative officer of viaForensics, a digital forensics and security company, found three unencrypted (i.e., less secure) passwords in apps for Foursquare, LinkedIn and Netflix on the Android in a recent round of app security testing.  Citibank received a "pass" rating for its app.

4. When logging in to perform online transactions, always enter the website address directly in your browser.

Never click links that claim to take you to banking sites.

5. Use strong passwords and don't reuse your bank password elsewhere.

Use two factor authentication if your bank offers it, such as confirmation numbers by text message to your phone, Wang said.

Levin adds that you should even have unusual answers to additional security questions.

"If they ask for your mother's maiden name, say 'superwoman,' or something outrageous that you would only know," Levin said.

6. Be active in monitoring your financial accounts.

Levin said he does not believe eliminating your online accounts is the answer because they can be the best tools to monitor your financial activity in real time.  He suggests you monitor your online accounts at least once a day.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio