In North Carolina, the Bank of Oak Ridge recently reported a data breach. The incident occurred between April 26th and 27th of 2021. An unauthorized person accessed client information. All five bank branches temporarily closed in order to resolve the incident.

The unauthorized individual accessed historical information pertaining to client transactions. The precise type of data accessed through the breach remains a mystery. Information has not been released regarding whether the intruder gained access to addresses, social security number or phone numbers.

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Clients who may have been affected include those who opened bank accounts prior to September 30th, 2009. A letter sent this month notified the group of the incident. Clients who opened an account after 2009 were not impacted. The bank itself began operations in 2000, according to its website.

Federal authorities have received details concerning the Bank of Oak Ridge breach. An investigation that includes outside assistance is pending. The bank’s leadership team, in conjunction with experts, aims to determine how the hacker managed to get in. Could the vulnerabilities still exist?

#bankofoakridge cyber attack details

After the incident, all five Bank of Oak Ridge branches immediately closed for two consecutive days. During that time, clients were informed that the bank’s “computers were down.” Media reports made mention of computer issues. At the time, no news emerged concerning a large-scale data breach.

Within the two-day closure window, computer systems were restored. Regular operations resumed shortly thereafter. The closure did not affect clients with bank cards who wished to make ATM transactions, and online portals remained functional.

The number of clients whose information was jeopardized remains unknown. Bank officials state that identity protection service is available to affected clients for a full 12 months.

Bank of Oakridge Marketing and Communications Manager, Skylar Mearing, states that “there has been no evidence that this information was stolen…,” asserting that the information is known only to have been “viewed.” Misuse of the information, including solicitation on the dark web, has not been observed to date.

Long time customer loss

In this incident, the bank’s long-time customers represented the primary group affected by the breach. Many may opt to move their money elsewhere. As may be the case for the Bank of Oak Ridge, broadly speaking, banking institutions that suffer breaches may need to finance new customer acquisition campaigns.

Customer acquisition is an expensive game. Costs run into the hundreds of dollars per customer. Banks frequently fail to profit from new customers unless they maintain substantial deposits, which brand new customers may not immediately want to entrust a new bank with, especially if known for a prior cyber security breach.

Advanced cyber threats are now running rampant. Ransomware attacks have reached an all-time high. For banking institutions, investing in cyber security pays. While regulatory guidelines mandate certain levels of cyber security compliance, more sophisticated threat prevention technologies can reduce the likelihood of cyber security incidents.

Financial services, most breached

When it comes to cyber criminal activity, the financial services sector is recognized as the most commonly targeted sector. Cyber criminals focus on banks in order to extract monetary resources, to profit from identity fraud, and for political or ideological reasons. For financial institutions, staying cyber secure means finding the right software and cyber security partners.

It also means staying up-to-date regarding the latest cyber criminal deterrents. For more information about the financial sector and cyber security, check out 10 Ways to Prevent Fraud in the Financial Sector.