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Protecting Your Bank Accounts From Cyber-Attacks

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What's being called the largest bank robbery in history has many wondering if their money is safe. What's being called the largest bank robbery in history has many wondering if their money is safe.
This picture is taken from the cell phone of a man accused of being part of a massive bank robbery. This picture is taken from the cell phone of a man accused of being part of a massive bank robbery.
John Hale is in charge of the Institute for Information Security at the University of Tulsa. John Hale is in charge of the Institute for Information Security at the University of Tulsa.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

What's being called the largest bank robbery in history has many wondering if their money is safe.

CBS News first broke the story of $45 million that was stolen from banks in 26 countries.

These are pictures taken from the cell phone of a man accused of being part of a massive bank robbery.

Investigators say the robbers waited near banks all over the world for messages from computer hackers. The messages were PIN numbers and signaled the robbers to begin withdrawing money from ATMs.

By the time it was over, they had stolen $45 million.

5/9/2013 CBS News Related Story: Cyber-Attacks Behind Possibly Record-Breaking Bank Heist

"I was fascinated by it, because it seemed to be a really interesting combination of high-tech and a low-tech attack," said cyber security expert John Hale.

Hale is in charge of the Institute for Information Security at the University of Tulsa. He said large-scale attacks like this are rare, but hackers are getting better and better, even as the technology gets more sophisticated.

"There's no such thing as a perfectly secure system," Hale said.

Andrea Myers, of the Bank of Oklahoma, said, "Regardless of the technology, criminals will always find new ways to take things that aren't theirs, and so our job is to be on top of those as much as possible.

Myers said financial institutions like BOK employ teams of fraud investigators, who are always on the lookout for inconsistencies and unusual activity.

"The security of our customers' data is the most important thing, and we've invested heavily in a lot of technology that helps us monitor and look for inconsistencies on their account activity," Myers said.

Both Myers and John Hale say it's important as a customer to track your accounts and notify your bank if you're going on a trip out of the country.

"The watchword is probably vigilance and understanding how technology can be a double edged sword in many ways," Hale said.

If you think money is missing from your account, Myers said, call your bank and they'll investigate it. If it was hacked, you would not be liable for any of that money.

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