Is on-line banking safe – a question I am asked almost every week. And rightly so.
But yes, on-line banking is safe with the proper precautions. The following are tips for how to safely bank on-line:
Go to your bank’s website by typing in their URL – never click on a link in an email.
Hackers can access a bank account by tricking a user into thinking they’re logging into their account when actually they are not.
This technique (phishing) is often carried out via an email informing you that you need to change your on-line information, verify a purchase, or something else that would make you log into your bank account via a link in the e-mail. In reality, the link takes you to a fake page that will log your account information.
Make sure the page is secure when entering data
A web page that encrypts data displays a small lock either next to the address bar (top left of the screen) or in the bottom corner of the window.
In addition, the URL will start with https:// instead of http://. When you go to your bank login page, check that you see this lock before entering your username and password. If there is no lock, DO NOT log into the page.
Never send usernames, passwords, etc, through e-mail
No bank will ever ask you to send personal information via email. E-mail is not encrypted and could be read if intercepted by a third-party.
Be cautious where you log into your bank
It is advisable to only log into your on-line bank page while at home.
Your workplace may employ methods of monitoring you while on-line. Someone with access to these logs would be able to see all keystrokes, including usernames and passwords.
When on an open wireless network it’s important to realise that all information being sent to and from your computer to the wireless router can be intercepted and read by someone nearby.
We would NEVER recommend on-line banking over an open wireless network (ie at a hotel or in a restaurant).
Be aware when logging into a computer you’re not familiar with – it could intentionally or unintentionally log usernames and passwords.
Use a strong password
Here I go again!! But I cannot emphasise enough how easy passwords are to crack. PLEASE do not make it easy to guess such as your child’s/pet’s name. Your banking password should have numbers, special characters and upper and lower case letters.
Most banks now also provide you with a card reader or an app for a 2-stage authentication log-in.
Make sure your computer is protected
Finally, it’s always a good idea to keep your personal computer protected with an anti-virus. When an attacker attacks or infects a computer they could install a keylogger – a software program or hardware device used to monitor and log each of the keys a user types into a computer keyboard.