Four Steps to Prepare for A Russian Cyberattack on the US Financial System
Image Copyright: Moscow Times

Four Steps to Prepare for A Russian Cyberattack on the US Financial System

I practiced law in Moscow in the 1990s. While there, I learned that Russian law is an oxymoron. I also learned a lot about Russia and its strengths. I am certain that in spite every precaution that US financial institutions have taken, Russian hackers are extremely talented and have the ability to initiate a wave of crippling cyberattacks on the US system.

Now is the time to take preventative measures to avoid leaving yourself exposed.

First, maintain your liquid bank accounts across multiple banks. We should not assume that the country’s largest banks (Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, Wells Fargo) will be immune to attack. Likewise, do not assume that you local bank will be immune. No matter where you bank principally, you should be opening multiple online bank accounts and transferring assets to them. This will also enable you to take advantage of rising rates on savings and money market accounts in 2022. Compare online accounts and rates here.

Second, do the same thing with your online brokerage accounts. If you trade through Etrade or TD Ameritrade, consider opening an account with the other to be sure that you will continue to have access to financial markets in the event of an outage. After all, we know that online brokers are prone to going down without an attack. Imagine what can happen if they are deliberately targeted by the best hackers in the world. Heck, you might even want to have accounts with multiple online brokers, and depending on your asset balances, this could be a good chance to qualify for some nice cash balances. Compare online brokerage accounts here.

Third, keep detailed records on your liquid accounts and online brokerage accounts so that you can recreate any missing or removed records. Download your most recent statements monthly or take screenshots.

Fourth, consider carrying credit cards issued by multiple issuers. Lots of folks are loyal to Amex or Chase cards for their great sign up bonuses. The loyalty is understandable, but you need to carry multiple personal cards in case there is an attack that knocks one or more issuers entirely offline. Since there are plenty of cards that do not have annual fees the first year, you may want to focus on one or two of these. And, again, you might even be able to take advantage of bonuses, cash-back options or point earning capabilities that you had not previously known were available to you.

If we are fortunate and do not experience a Russian cyberattack on our system in 2022, you will have done no harm to yourself through these simple four steps.

Ari Socolow
Ari Socolow: Ari Socolow is the Chief Economist and Editor-in-Chief at BestCashCow. He is particularly interested in issues relating to bank transparency and the climate crisis. Since co-founding BestCashCow in 2005, Ari has been frequently cited in the media as an expert on local and national savings accounts, CD products, mortgage and loan products and credit card rewards products.

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  • Kirk S

    October 09, 2022

    What would you consider to be an appropriate split amongst your cash and brokerage accounts, either in terms of amounts or in terms of percentages? I think this is wise advice, and I have set about to do as you suggest. I was going to simply meet the FDIC maximum's in the cash accounts for CDs or super savings accounts, but it does take a bit of work to fund at different banks, especially given many of the ones with higher rates have transfer limitations (in and/or out).

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