Fear is that thing you feel when your bank’s website goes down. This is what happened yesterday when HSBC’s websites were hacked. The hack impacted a number of HSBC sites around the globe, and had many HSBC bankers worried. Aside from the fact that HSBC is one of the biggest banks in the world, nobody likes to be denied access to a bank account.
The HSBC hack is part of a larger series of hacks called “Operation Ababil,” which consists of a group of hackers aiming to bring down Western banks. While the hackers did take down some of the HSBC sites, no patrons were impacted directly. Via Twitter, the hacker group warned the public that other banks would be next. Already, the group has targeted TD Bank, HSBC, Capital One, and SunTrust. Hackers have warned Barclays that it will be next. While the bank hack war is waging, consumers can keep accounts safe by instilling a few key steps.
First, Make That Password Tough
You’ve heard it time and again. Make sure that your password is hard to crack. But, how many people actually create complex passwords? Few. When you create your bank account password, don’t use your phone number or address. Also, be sure to set up that security question and answer portion of your account setup. Sure, it’s a pain to enter the name of your street or your favorite color, but it may just prevent your account from being hacked.
Second, Only Connect Securely
Tempted to check your bank account on your smartphone while on the bus? Sure, smartphones make things like checking a bank account easy. But, using public WiFi to connect to anything personal is a huge risk. Don’t use the cafГ© connection, and don’t be tempted to check your balance on your phone. While seemingly simple, these steps can protect your account.
Third, Set Up A Dedicated Email Address
Optimally, you should have a few different email addresses. One email address should be used solely for banking purposes. The other email addresses can be used for business or personal usage. This will keep spammers from sending, and gathering, information from you via email. A simple step, but one that will save you lots of grief!
Fourth, Shred Bank Documents!
Amazingly, banks still send out lots of paper documents. If you still get bank documents via snail mail, make sure to shred them. Allowing anyone to see your bank account number is bad news. Who would go through your garbage? You’d be surprised. Protect yourself by getting rid of any bank account evidence.
Fifth, Be Aware
How often do you check your bank account statement? Do you make sure that everything on your statement is okay? Are all funds accounted for? Make a habit of checking your account statements regularly. This way, you will notice any suspicious activity right away. Most people have no idea that something has happened to a bank account until it’s too late. If you do see something strange, report it right away.