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Cracking the nest egg

Serious security breaches are on the increase as more banks and consumers do their business online.


Cracking the nest egg

By Sandeep Junnarkar
Staff Writer, CNET
May 2, 2002, 4:00 AM PT

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After years of reluctance, consumers are finally starting to bank online in substantial numbers--and hackers are wasting no time in preying on the trend.

Law enforcement agencies and security experts agree that breaches in bank security are rising, but the number of serious incidents--and the risk to the public--remains largely unknown. The banking industry, manically protective of its reputation, releases as little information as possible about break-ins, for good reason: Consumers are more sensitive than ever about security, having been exposed to financial disasters ranging from the S&L scandal to the Enron debacle.

Privacy and consumer advocates say security will likely be compromised even further as financial institutions partner with companies such as Microsoft and AOL Time Warner for Web services, which will rely on relatively untested technologies.

Banks: A veil of safety
Day One: Despite a lack of public information, sources say serious security breaches are clearly increasing as more banks and consumers do business online.

Anatomy of a hacking
Day Two: How, exactly, does a hacker break in to a bank account? There are a number of ways, but veteran investigators point to some familiar methods.

Dark side of cyberlife
Day Three: Services catering to consumer demands for convenience are rising all over the Web, but they may pose some of the weakest security links of all.

Banks: A veil of safety

Editors: Mike Yamamoto, Lara Wright, Jennifer Balderama
Design: Melissa Parker     Production: Ben Helm