Following new US sanctions against Russia, Texas banks are preparing for possible cyberattacks. We asked experts how we should prepare.
SAN ANTONIO – Following new US sanctions against Russia, Texas banks are preparing for possible cyberattacks.
Experts don’t know when. They believe that everything depends on the result in Ukraine.
For now, a lot of planning is going on behind the scenes to keep our financial security stable.
A rumor circulating online is causing panic. KENS 5 discusses with the experts to set the record straight.
Americans should start taking money out of the bank. That’s the rumor circulating on message boards and social media, according to the Texas Bankers Association.
“The banking industry, compared to any other, has one of the highest, if not the highest, levels of cybersecurity,” said John Heasley, executive vice president of the Texas Bankers Association.
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The agency researched and found that no formal authority had instructed consumers to shop at ATMs.
Either way, Heasley says it’s not a bad idea.
“It’s always good to have some cash,” he explained.
Heasley says work is going on behind the scenes to identify any cyber threats. He says the agency is in constant communication with various banks, and each bank’s security administrators brief each other on potential threats or attacks.
“Everyone is acutely aware of cyber warfare and potential threats,” he said. “You combine the awareness of this by the military with the protections and communications with the private sector, we’re in pretty good shape.”
If a cyberattack is detected, customers will be notified in advance by their bank to allow them enough time to prepare.
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“We held our breath and waited for the shoe to drop and it hasn’t really dropped yet,” said Dr. Max Kilger, associate professor of practice in UTSA’s Department of Information Systems and Cybersecurity.
Kilger thinks the United States is unlikely to see retaliation until Russia or Ukraine gain the upper hand.
“We’re not going to see much in the area of cyberattacks outside of Ukraine, but once that’s sorted out one way or another, we’re more likely to be in a slightly more dangerous,” he said.
Kilger advises the public not to panic. He says people in the United States have become accustomed to preparing for natural disasters by keeping food, flashlights, radios and cash close at hand. The same mentality should be applied to cybersecurity attacks.
“It’s probably the first time in history that after all these natural disasters, we’re going to add a man-made event to this list and that’s cyberattacks,” Kilger said.
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For now, Russia has held off on cyberattacks against everyone but Ukraine.
Kilger’s advice: don’t be complacent because we haven’t suffered a cyberattack yet. Always keep your level of consciousness high.
“I think in terms of more severe attacks, I think they’re less likely because [Russia is] more likely to engage in a US or European counter-response,” Kilger said. “It’s still a bit early to see and it depends to some extent on the mindset of Vladimir Poutine.”
So how can you protect your money?
For online banking customers, the Texas Bankers Association recommends:
- Check your accounts regularly
- Watch out for strange emails and avoid clicking on suspicious links
- Change your passwords often
- Enable two-factor authentication
- Disable your automatic login
- Use the bank app if possible
- If something goes wrong, call your bank