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State-sponsored cyber threats

China has long been among the countries of prime interest to U.S. intelligence and defense agencies’ cybersecurity divisions.

Back in May 2023, the National Security Agency (NSA) released an advisory about a China-sponsored cyber campaign, now dubbed Volt Typhoon, which the agency claimed was targeting U.S. critical infrastructure.

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Are financial institutions at risk?

State-sponsored cyber groups are better known for stealing trade secrets, intellectual property (IP) and confidential information from U.S. corporations than they are for targeting individuals’ financial information. The latter tends to be the province of plain old cyber criminals, who are well-versed in fraud and credential theft to reap financial gain.

However, in response to cybersecurity findings such as the NSA’s, U.S. federal banking agencies have increasingly been sharing information and resources from CISA about how to improve the resilience of all Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)-insured financial institutions.

In short, the threat posed by state-sponsored cyberattackers to your personal financial assets remains minimal. Still, it’s prudent to bank with a federally insured institution, which will guarantee your deposits up to $250,000 in the event of a cyberattack from any source.

You should also favor institutions that encourage up-to-date security measures. such as multi-factor or biometric authentication, password protection and using a secure wireless network to log on to online banking services.

Regardless of your personal risk, cyberattacks could also pose a risk to the U.S. economy as a whole.

The FBI has identified economic espionage, sponsored by foreign powers, as a major concern. This would see bad actors illegally influencing a country’s economic policy or stealing critical technologies or sensitive data relating to a country’s finance, trade, or economic policy.

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About the Author

Bethan Moorcraft

Bethan Moorcraft


Bethan Moorcraft is a reporter for Moneywise with experience in news editing and business reporting across international markets.

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