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In The News: Recent Cyberattacks on Banks “Very Sophisticated”

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The news about the recent cyberattacks on JPMorgan Chase starts off our news segment this week. U.S. law enforcement officials said the attacks were “very sophisticated” and were likely state-sponsored. Other news includes a plan to provide a bank account to every household in India, a cat lending program launched by Russia’s biggest bank to attract prospective home buyers and a new technology that can track your typing behavior and help prevent password theft.

  • Recent Cyberattacks on Banks “Very Sophisticated”

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee said the recent cyberattacks on JPMorgan Chase and at least four other institutions were “very sophisticated” and were likely state-sponsored. The other firms involved have not yet been identified. Law enforcement officials reportedly believed that the attacks were carried out by Russian hackers but it’s still unknown whether the Russian government played a role. Meanwhile, JPMorgan Chase said it hadn’t seen any unusual fraud activity from its customers’ accounts. “Companies of our size unfortunately experience cyberattacks nearly every day,” said JPMorgan spokeswoman Patricia Wexler, as quoted by the L.A. Times. “We have multiple layers of defense to counteract any threats and constantly monitor fraud levels.” (USA Today)

  • India Launches Bank Account for All

India’s state-owned banks are conducting a massive campaign to open millions of accounts for those who are off the financial grid and vulnerable to black market money-lenders. The program—which was launched yesterday— may eventually help sideline unscrupulous banks, some of which are blamed for driving tens of thousands of impoverished farmers to suicide each year over debts amounting to just a few thousand dollars. Tens of thousands of people have reportedly applied to open accounts since August 15, India’s Independence Day. The goal is to sign up 150 million people by 2018. (Aljazeera)

  • Russia’s Biggest Bank is Lending Cats
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Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, is offering to lend cats to customers who take out home mortgages. According to Russian superstition, letting a cat walk through your new home before you move in brings good luck. “Order a cat for your housewarming, and bring both happiness and luck to your home,” the state-controlled bank says on a Cat Delivery Service website it set up to promote the campaign. Customers can choose among 10 breeds, including tabbies, Siamese, and an exotic hairless cat resembling a sphinx. (Business Week)

  • Nordic Banks Use New Technology to Prevent Password Theft

Banks in Europe’s Nordic region have begun rolling out a new kind of security technology that can track its customers’ typing behavior. This way, even if a friend knows someone’s PIN number, they wouldn’t be able to get in thanks to all the automatic nuances in the way people type, such as rhythm, speed and pressure on the keys. Behaviosec, the Swedish security startup, claims a high success rate on verification. Its founder Neil Costigan said Nordic banks have trialed the tracking technology and found it worked so well that by the end of the year, every Internet bank user in Sweden, Norway and Denmark will be doubly verified by their typing behavior. (Forbes)

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