Financial Cyber Security: Paper Financial Statement Records Are Essential

QVM Clients:

Given the growing frequency and severity of hacker attacks on financial institutions (JP Morgan yesterday, for example), and given the estimated potential for information damage by an electromagnetic pulse weapon, I recommend that you keep paper statement for all of your investment, banking and other financial accounts.

We made the same recommendation back in 2011 in a SeekingAlpha article about personal financial security best practices.  It made sense then, and makes more sense now as the frequency and severity of attacks increases.

Stealing your account access data, or actually stealing your money in an attack on some institutions is bad, but probably compensable by the compromised institution or their insurers.  However, if a major foe  were to attack in a way that simply deleted or scrambled account data throughout an institution (or many institutions simultaneously) you may spend months or years waiting (and hoping) for recreation of your account data and access to your money, particularly if they were able attack backups somehow.

Data disaster sounds like science fiction, but simply keeping paper statements could make all the difference in the event that such an attack takes place.  Those with paper statements are likely to be resolved first (or at all).

JP Morgan,  which suffered a massive data breach yesterday, is reported to spend $200 million per year on data security, yet all that was penetrated.  They are likely as good as any institution.  The bottom line is your data, and perhaps access to your money is potentially at stake.

Print out or take mail delivery of paper statements, and retain recent copies just in case.

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