When cyber criminals find a way to steal your banking information, it is like they hit that jackpot (literally). But, taking the time to protect your information can prevent a great monetary loss and many headaches.
Checking or Savings?
Bank accounts around the world are a huge target for online criminals. Rightly so. Now, with the innovation of online banking we give them an even easier way to try and steal our hard-earned cash.
Even with the statistics and plentiful news stories regarding hacked accounts, many people do not think it can happen to them. This then leads them to have a false sense of security, and let their guard down.
This is what criminals count on. Easy passwords and minimal security on accounts set them up to hack your account.
Now, what can one do to prevent such an attack? Let’s take a look at a few tips for secure online banking.
Tips for Online Banking
To begin, taking time right off the bat to set up or enable security features on your bank account is the way to go. This includes a strong password, 2FA and not storing your password.
Continuing, users will want to include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.
Even after that, one must resist the urge to use your own name, birthday, pet name or any other easily identifiable information. The examples listed are easily found through a simple Google search or scroll through a Facebook profile page.
Think of a random phrase or word that you can customize for your account.
An example of a strong versus weak password would be:
Weak – dogname123
Strong – pErro6#Dos4!@!
Two Factor Authentication on Online Banking Accounts
2FA is another great what to ramp up account security. This implements a two step process when trying to log into your account. Thus adding an extra layer of security and validation when a user logs in.
Many banking apps have 2FA available, but not turned on automatically. But, a simple look through the application settings and a few taps should do the trick to enable 2FA.
The combination of a strong password and 2FA will truly make it more difficult for unauthorized users to gain access to user accounts. Is this process slightly more tedious? Yes. But is it better than having someone drain your accounts? Also yes.
Home vs. Public Networks
Continuing with another tip, I recommend only performing online banking on your home or otherwise secure network. As tempting as it may seem, using public WiFi to access any of your accounts if a security risk.
Further, this is due to the fact that you never know who is accessing or sitting on the network. Criminals will sit on public networks watching for traffic to bank accounts or any other account in hopes of gaining access to such accounts.
Where as when on your home network, users can control network access and monitor it as well.
Finally, debit cards can present as a security risk as well. This card is a direct access point to your account. The recommendation here is to make sure where you use the card is a trusted location, site, etc.
For example, if you are traveling and stop at a gas station along the way. You may possibly use your debit card on a gas pump with a skimmer on it. Criminals install skimmers onto payment portals in order to steal credit card information. Many don’t even know this happens until it is too late.
The recommendation here is to use cash or a credit card if need be. With cash you do not have to worry about your information being stolen. As for a credit card, you are still at risk to fall victim to a skimmer. But, with the delay in funds being withdrawn it gives you time to get help if an issue arises.
Also, a credit card is not directly / immediately linked to your bank accounts. Meaning that the funds will not immediately be lost from your account. Thus allowing time for an investigation and prevention of the loss going farther.
In the End…
All in all, as prevalent as cyber criminals are, many ways to fight their attacks are also in existence. Taking the time to put them into action is the tricky part. Many don’t think that they will ever be the victim of a cyber attack.
As soon as someone believes they are totally secure, they are not. Securing things like your online banking account is crucial. Be conscious of the times and places you access the account. And make sure your password is strong, and your 2FA is enabled!
By Taylor Ritchey