The following content is sponsored by Monetary Gold, the official gold sponsor of Breitbart News.
IRAs and 401(k)s are the largest targets for cyber thieves worldwide. Planadviser.com tells us that these savings vehicles combined total $35 trillion in U.S. retirement funds. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the cost of cybercrime is predicted to hit $8 trillion in 2023 and will grow to $10.5 trillion by 2025.
Research shows there are over 2,200 attacks each day, which breaks down to nearly one cyberattack every 39 seconds.
Virtually any financial institution connected to the internet, including the big boys like Vanguard, Fidelity, Prudential, and even Charles Schwab, is a target for sophisticated cyberattacks targeting your savings.
And you, my friend, if you save or invest, have a giant target on your back.
Just about every week now, we hear how company XYZ got hacked and how customer social security numbers, usernames and passwords, or credit card numbers were stolen.
It’s scary to hear how people’s personal information is bundled into packages of millions of records and then sold on the dark web to cyber predators.
Most people who save don’t know that over the last 15 years top financial institutions have had their networks breached with millions of dollars lost. These include Charles Schwab, Nationwide, Bank of America, and T. Rowe Price.
Consider this: what data do these breaches contain? Nothing but your personal information:
- your username
- your password
- and full access to everything you’ve spent a lifetime accumulating
In 2018, a Virginia bank was hit two times within eight months. Cybercriminals got away with $2.4 million of people’s savings.
One moment Dave DeSmidt had $179,000 in his JPMorgan Chase 401(k) retirement account. The next moment, he had nothing.
Here is the ugly truth and reality: years of savings can be wiped out in an instant, transferred to another country, and be unrecoverable.
Once a cyber thief has your login information, your money is gone. Here’s the gut-wrenching rub: we Americans don’t check our IRA or 401(k) statements the way we check our credit card or ATM use.
Many go months—and some will go years—without looking at their statements. But when the money is gone, it’s gone.
JPMorgan Chase, a huge 401(k) and retirement services provider and one of the world’s largest banks, has had their network breached at least three times in the last eight years that we are aware of. In 2014, 76 million households and seven million businesses were affected. That breach was orchestrated by a team of four criminals who also masterminded stock-pump schemes and internet gambling, netting them $100 million.
Russian cyber-criminal Andrei Tyurin, extradited to the U.S. in 2018 from Eastern Europe, told a colleague that “Chase’s database was like ‘opening a book.’” At a federal court in September 2018, Tyurin pled not guilty to the 2012-15 cyber-attacks on JPMorgan Chase, Fidelity, E*Trade, Scottrade, Dow Jones, and others, totaling about a dozen financial institutions and brokerage firms.
What was he after? What was he successfully able to get his hands on? Nothing but access to your savings.
Financial fraud expert Avivah Litan, an analyst at Gartner Research, said, “Chase is one of the most secure banks out there…We expect banks to be safe.”
Financial fraud analyst Al Pascual, an adviser for Javelin Strategy & Research, said: “The breach at Chase proves the financial services industry can be breached just as easily as retailers.”
What these experts are telling us is that JPMorgan Chase’s network, the best of the best and crème de la crème, can be compromised as easily as Target or Home Depot.
In 2021, Andrei Tyurin was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years in prison for computer intrusion, wire fraud, bank fraud, and illegal online gambling offenses in connection with his involvement in a massive computer hacking campaign targeting U.S. financial institutions, brokerage firms, financial news publishers, and other American companies.
The lesson is that any financial organization with a keyboard attached to it at the other end is susceptible to 100 percent losses.
That’s Just Child’s Play
Bloomberg reported on August 6, 2019, that North Korea had stolen $2 billion from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges around the world (including in the U.S.) and used the funds to expand its nuclear weapons program. Bloomberg also noted that Kim Jong Un’s regime has about “30 overseas representatives controlling bank accounts and facilitating transactions, including for illicit transfers of coal and petroleum,” according to a report published by the U.N.
Think for a moment: North Korea is just outright stealing anything they can get their hands on. How many people’s savings were wiped out and decimated, leaving them with nothing? How many people will now work years into what should have been their retirement?
A 2019 report released by the internet threat analysis company Risk Based Security stated that there were 3,813 breaches reported through June 30 of that year which exposed over 4.1 billion records. “The number of reported breaches has gone up by 54% and the number of exposed records by 52% compared to the first six months of 2018,” according to the report. That was in 2019.
That’s 4.1 billion records that had been captured, bundled, and sold. At this very moment, those financial accounts, millions of them located here in the United States, could be under assault.
Let me ask you an important question: is any of your personal information in those exposed records? Stop and think about this. What is the likelihood?
Then that leads us to the next logical conclusion and question: if this is the United States of America, and if I get hacked, isn’t my account insured by the FDIC?
Contrary to what many people believe, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) does not reimburse banks for fraud perpetrated against accounts.
There Is One Way—and Only One Way—to Protect Yourself
The smartest thing anyone can do is take a portion of their retirement account and put it outside the reach of cybercriminals.
By executing one simple change to your savings strategy, you can protect yourself from being wiped out financially. How? By taking 20 to 40 percent of your long-term savings and putting it out of harm’s way.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is quoted as saying that “cyberattacks are currently the biggest risk for financial institutions.”
In April 2019, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon told shareholders that “cybersecurity may very well be the biggest threat to the U.S. financial system.”
What is the worst thing that could happen today to your money?
- a Dodd-Frank Bank bail-in (you lose some, possibly all of your deposits/savings)
- a stock market collapse (you lose 50 to 75 percent of your savings)
- another 1920s Depression (you lose 70 to 100 percent of your savings)
- cyber thieves steal your 401(k)/IRA funds (you lose 100 percent with no FDIC protection)
- any combination of these
You might not have noticed, but in every one of those situations, those funds are at a 100 percent risk of loss.
By hedging themselves, smart savers and investors avoid as much risk as possible.
And guess what? The worst catastrophic financial meltdown ever seen by man could occur, and those investors would not be wiped out. They’d walk away to see another day while others suffered severe losses. I think I would call that financial life insurance.
If you have a 401(k) or an IRA consider safeguarding 20 to 40 percent so that no matter what the worst-case scenario is, you will survive.
Monetary Gold is the Official Gold Sponsor of Breitbart News. By putting some of your portfolio/savings into gold, you preserve your purchasing power, protect yourself from other market forces working against you, and protect yourself from cyber threats.
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