Remember the time when you had to drive down to your local bank in the scorching summer sun just to make that one transaction? Well, here’s the good news: Those days are long gone! Yes, all thanks to technological advancement and innovation, banking is easier than ever. Nowadays, you just need to visit a bank to open or close your account. As far as conducting transactions is concerned, you can easily do that online – anytime, anywhere.
The internet has extracted the menial labor and physical exhaustion right out of our lives. Instead, it has brought immeasurable convenience and automated ease. Everything from shopping groceries to ordering a ride, continuing the academic year to indulging in a TV series, and looking up a recipe for a potluck roast to chatting with your friend across the ocean can be done from your comfortable couch.
What do you need for that? A gateway device like a smartphone or a laptop, and a high-speed internet connection. Click on this link for more information regarding consistent and reliable internet service. Still, it is not all rainbows and butterflies. The World Wide Web has a beneficial and a deadly side, which often remains neglected until a disaster strikes.
The dark side of the web hides cybercriminals, who want nothing more than to create chaos in your connected devices, systems, data, and networks. It is against these malicious entities that you have to reinforce your security defenses, especially when money is involved and you’re banking online. Let this post show you the top five ways to make your online transactions in the safest manner possible.
Steer Clear of Public Wi-Fi
To protect your internet banking against cybercriminals, the first thing you have to do is see where these attackers frequent the most and where their hunting ground is. Research points out that public Wi-Fi is the perfect hub for such criminal activities.
Why is public Wi-Fi so insecure? Because, one, it is free and open, which means anybody can log into it, including unsuspecting users and vicious hackers, and two, it is not an encrypted connection, unlike your private home Wi-Fi that delivers end-to-end encryption on the web, making your data practically undecipherable for hackers.
Since people sharing the same network are linked in one way or another, cybercriminals can easily exploit the security flaws of public Wi-Fi to orchestrate a MITM attack to sniff out your account information as you transact online or set up rogue hotspots to slip malware into your connected devices and steal your data. So, what’s the way out, then? Do not use public Wi-Fi, especially for online banking.
Instead, go for the relatively secure mobile data or cellular internet, which has better shields against financial frauds and hackers. Regardless, the best option is to resort to private home internet for such sensitive activities and avoid making online transactions in the first place when you’re on the go.
Flag those Suspicious Emails
Almost all banks communicate with their account holders via email. This medium is leveraged by cybercriminals and hackers to elicit private data from guileless users through a technique called phishing.
Phishing is a fraudulent practice in which malicious entities use emails to persuade individuals to reveal their personal information like credit card details, social security numbers or passwords, etc.
How do they get away with it? By taking on the façade of reputable sources. It is easy to fall prey to a phishing email because it may strongly resemble the one sent by your bank. This is where users are advised to use their discretion.
Avert a phishing attack by flagging the suspicious email and reporting it to authorities. You can recognize a phishing email by looking for certain indicators, like:
- A generic greeting
- A sender email that doesn’t match your bank’s corporate signature or domain
- Grammatical or punctuation errors in the email body
- A sense of urgency in the tone
- A message that states a problem with your account and asks you to click on a link or download an attachment as a solution, etc.
Keep in mind that your bank will never require your personal details like usernames or passwords through either emails or phone calls.
Set Robust Authentication Protocols
It is always a good idea to reinforce your defenses against potential threats and unforeseeable attacks when you’re accessing your banking website online. Reinforcing defenses means setting up robust authentication protocols, so only you can sign in to your online banking account and no one can follow in your trail.
You can start by applying a strong password to your banking profile. A strong password is 8 to 11 characters long, a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, and not something predictable like your mother’s maiden name or your childhood dog, as this information can be acquired by hackers online via social media or other sources.
Secondly, most banking websites give you the option to enable a two-factor authentication protocol on your account. A two-factor authentication protocol works like two locks, in order to bypass which you need a password and a one-time pin code that is sent to your registered phone number. Only then can anyone access your digital banking profile, including yourself. This extra layer of protection works out for the best and protects your online banking activities from interception.
Refrain from Auto-Logins
Using complex passwords is a great maneuver for online security, but remembering those unique combinations of letters, symbols, and numbers can be tricky, especially where old-age users are concerned. To avoid this, most users tend to let their web browsers track and note down the login information of the banking website for future ease.
This is called auto-login. With auto-login enabled, the user only has to click in the username or password box, and the web browser completes the rest of the fields on its own, thus, allowing the user to log in without any effort.
Something as easy as this can also entrap you in no time. For instance, a malicious third party only has to get a hold of your device and open the banking website to enter your confidential profile and wreak all sorts of havoc in your monetary reserves.
Therefore, refrain from depending on the auto-login feature and use a credible password manager instead to store your passwords for your online banking sites. Go the extra mile by avoiding the banking account login from a web browser, and downloading the banking app to bring fingerprint authentication into play.
Keep a Close Check on Your Account Activity
Regularly checking your account statement is a move in the right direction. This information prepares you for a future attack, which may come in the shape of fraudulent transactions on your account or money taken out in your name.
Activate SMS alerts for whenever cash is withdrawn from your account or a banking transaction is processed. This way you can know what is going on and can contact your bank instantly in case your online banking account is hacked.
The Final Word
As a modern-day online user, you should take every precautionary measure to make sure your internet banking experience goes without a hitch. Use the aforementioned pointers to safely conduct transactions right away!