Financial Technology

Financial Technology

May 28, 2013

Cyber Attacks May Disable Banking Websites, but They Don't Make Banks Inaccessible

Cyber attacks have become much more prevalent across all industries in recent years; for example, the majority LivingSocial's user base was compromised in April. Of course, these attacks also occur frequently in the financial industry. In fact, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) recently reported it has been the victim of several hacking attempts over the past few years, leading to information being stolen.

Fortunately, most cyber attacks on bank websites don't result in compromised customer information, but they do often lead to banking websites being inaccessible. For those who have come to rely on the convenience offered by online banking, this can obviously be quite an inconvenience.

These types of attacks have largely been claimed by an Islamist hacker group — while the RBA's hacking woes may lead back to China — which used distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks to overwhelm banking websites with traffic. This artificial traffic, of course, prevents actual customers from gaining access to online banking.

This happens more often than many might think. According to recent data from Keynote Systems (News - Alert), cyber attacks forced bank websites offline for nearly 250 hours over a six-week period between February and March. There's not much banks can do on their end to prevent this as more capable servers can always be overcome with a larger DDoS attack that leverages a bigger network of computers.

Fortunately, there are ways for the average user to avoid being inconvenienced by cyber attacks, according to Simon Zhen over at U.S. News.

First, check that the dedicated log-in page is still accessible. Many rely on the convenience of logging in right from a bank's main page, but the dedicated login page might remain unaffected by a DDoS attack.

Second, try using your bank's mobile app, which won't rely on the website being accessible. This is an especially useful solution as many already rely on banks' mobile apps anyway. Likewise, phone banking still offers a great deal of convenience and will stay accessible at all times.

Finally, you may just need to head over to your bank's closest branch or ATM to conduct banking business. It might not be as convenient, but it's certainly better than not doing any banking at all.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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