One consequence of the slam bam thankya ma’am big and fast data world we live in is that we are all susceptible to online crime. News of the cyber attack that hit J.P. Morgan Chase has raised fears about cyber security around the country. If the newspapers have it right, about 76 million households have been impacted one way or the other by this. While it’s certainly been big in the news, it was reported initially back in August. Further, it doesn’t appear that really harmful things like account numbers or worse yet, funds, have been stolen. The biggest risk is that with access to names and email addresses the hackers may launch a phishing campaign tempting unsuspecting account holders to log in with their personal information which can then be used for other nefarious reasons.

Rule of the road – if you get any funky looking emails purporting to be from your bank that wind up in the spam filter, don’t play along. In my own case, I don’t recall ever having a legitimate email from my bank wind up in my spam filter. On the other hand, I’ve had lots of phishing scam emails land there misrepresenting themselves as my bank. I monitor my accounts regularly for strange charges, and I am very leery of an email from “my bank” directing me to go sign in somewhere.

While not really related to this particular breach, it is worth noting that a lot of the world’s credit card fraud has relocated to this country because of our failure to adapt evolving security technology like EMV chip cards. It’s no wonder that the banks are forcing the issue by shifting liability for fraud from banks to merchants next year IF they haven’t adapted the ability to accept EMV cards. All of this serves as a reminder to be vigilant with your account information. Even the best of us can be impacted by fraudsters, but there’s no reason for us or the banks to make it easy for them.

J.P. Morgan Chase has an FAQ posted on their website about this breach that you can review here. In the end, I have been a Chase customer for years, and I am not terribly worried about this security breach. I’ll continue doing what I’ve been doing which is regularly monitoring my accounts, not accessing my accounts from public networks, and being mindful of any phishing attempts.

-MJ, October 6, 2014

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