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updated 6/15/2012 4:51:10 PM ET 2012-06-15T20:51:10

Large financial institutions faced more online attacks last year in than the previous two years, and a large part of those attempted hacks succeeded.

Hackers tried to break into and transfer money from hacked customer accounts 314 times in 2011, according to a survey of 95 financial institutions and five service providers conducted by the American Bankers Association, based on data from the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC).

As Network World reported, that number is a drastic increase from 2009, which saw only 87 attacks against bank accounts, and 2010, during which 239 were recorded. About a third of the attempted online attacks in 2011 succeeded, Network World said.

In 2011, cybercrooks were able to make off with $777,064 from financial institutions, the survey revealed; that sum is actually down from the $3.12 million taken in 2010. Individual bank customers lost $489,672 in 2011 as a result of hacks on their accounts, as compared with $1.16 million in 2010.

Fortunately, there are several ways you can stave off attacks on your online bank account.

The No. 1 rule is to run up-to-date anti-virus software, which can detect potential threats and Trojans before they sneak into your computer. Also, choose a difficult-to-guess and complex password, and don't reuse it on any other account.

Be careful not to click on any attachments from unsolicited emails. And if you notice any unusual transactions on your account, report the issue to your bank immediately.

© 2012 SecurityNewsDaily. All rights reserved

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