By  Posted on Mon Oct 29, 2012

Getting Ready for More Big-Bank Cyberattacks

The recent string of cyberattacks on big-bank websites may have consumers concerned. Since online banking has become the go-to portal for financial management, consumers are often inconvenienced when site outages prevent them from conducting necessary financial transactions. Luckily, there are ways to avoid the banking disruptions that occur.

First off, to offer a little bit of consolation to bank customers, the group of cyber-attackers that claimed responsibility for these attacks says that it does not intend on touching customers’ deposits. “We have already stressed that the attacks launch only to prevent banking services temporarily throughout the day & there is no stealing or handling of money in our agenda,” the group said in a statement.

Known as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, the group employs a network of computers to send massive amounts of traffic to a website, restricting access by regular users. It is similar to using automated phone calls to clog a customer service line, which would mean you’d have to wait a very long time to get help.

Without access to online banking, customers cannot use online bill pay or make fund transfers — stopping them from meeting their financial obligations and even incurring fees when they miss their payments.

Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, Capital One, PNC, HSBC and BB&T are just some of the major banks that have suffered day-long site outages in the past several weeks. And, more of these cyberattacks could be on the way.

Here how you can prepare for the website downtime:

Get things done now. Sometimes, it seems that things break down the second you need to use them. If there is banking transaction that you can perform today, do it today, when you know that online banking is working fine.

Bookmark the login URL. Many bank customers save the homepage of their bank websites because this page offers a login area. This page happens to be the main target of these cyberattacks. Bank customers may be able to access their online accounts by bookmarking another page that allows them to log in. Typically, there is a dedicated login page immediately after you sign out of your account. Save this page and you may be able to log in in the event of a cyberattack (however, pages may take longer to load).

Use mobile banking The advent of mobile banking has offered another convenient channel to access your bank accounts and features such as account transfers and bill payment. Since mobile banking applications were unaffected by the site outages, you should be able use these apps as usual.

Visit a bank branch or ATM. While the cyberattacks were occurring, bank branches and ATMs continued with normal business. If there is something that you can’t do because online banking is unavailable, visit a branch or ATM.

If you happen to incur any bank fees because a site outage prevented you from making a payment, contact the bank to have the fees waived or refunded.

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