Thanks to the Internet, banking is now easier than ever. Not so long ago, we had to drive all the way to the bank to deposit our checks. Today, you’re able to conduct as many transactions as you want at home or on the go.
While the convenience of online banking is undeniable, it comes with its set of drawbacks. Your bank account details can be compromised if you don’t take security seriously. The next you know, you’ve fallen victim to identity theft.
Online Banking Security Tips
In this post, we’re going to highlight 17 essential online banking security tips to keep your finances in safe hands:
1. Create Strong Passwords
Your online banking account will require you to type a password to gain access, so make sure you select a strong one. Ideally, you should use a combination of upper and lower case letters as well as special characters and numbers.
Refrain from including any common phrases or words and never create a password that contains personal information. After all, it isn’t that difficult to guess!
2. Activate Two-Factor Authentication
If your bank supports two-factor authentication (2FA), enable it to give your account an extra layer of protection. Once set up, you’re typically sent a one-time password via text message that you need to enter every time you log into your account. The extra step might seem inconvenient, but it’s entirely worth it.
In the event that someone else tries to access your account, you’ll receive a text with the code. As soon as you realize that you didn’t request this, you can intercept the bad guy right away.
3. Secure Your Device
Always use an antivirus or anti-malware program on your mobile phone or computer to keep cybercrooks at bay. Don’t forget to update it timely and ensure your firewall is running to protect your device against outside intrusion.
Using an up-to-date web browser is also essential – outdated browsers have loopholes that can make your device unsafe!
4. Disable Auto-Login
When you use auto-login, your browser stores your username and password. This means that you can access your bank account without having to remember your login details. However, you’re better off avoiding automatic login, especially if you do online banking on your mobile phone.
What if it gets stolen by a thief? They wouldn’t even need your credentials to break into your bank account.
5. Safeguard Your Connection
This is one of the most crucial Internet banking security tips to follow at all costs. If your connection isn’t secure, all your banking traffic can be intercepted and read by hackers. Therefore, when you go to the bank or shopping site, check if it uses SSL or TLS.
Simply look at the URL – it should start with “https://”, indicating the site is encrypted. Likewise, if you’re using a public WiFi, don’t make any transactions – these networks leave you open to attacks as well. If you have to, get a VPN for online banking as it will encrypt your entire connection.
Related Read: What is my IP address
6. Beware of Phishing Attempts
If you receive an email from your bank asking for your account information, don’t fall for it. This is a phishing attempt in which a cybercriminal tricks you into revealing sensitive data, masquerading as a trustworthy entity. Remember, legit financial institutions never send emails to users requesting their credentials.
Take a DNS Leak Test
7. Lock Down Your Mobile Device
Do you use your mobile phone for Internet banking or making purchases? Then, you need to secure your handheld device too. Set up a lock screen with a PIN or password to prevent someone from casually accessing your phone.
Also, activate Find My iPhone or Android Device Manager. With it, you can find your phone’s location if you have lost it, or remotely erase all personal data so that it doesn’t end up where it shouldn’t.
8. Set Up Account Notifications
Some banks give you the option to get real-time notifications via text or email about your account. It’s a useful feature because you’ll receive a text every time funds are drawn from your bank account. In this way, you can detect and act on suspicious activity promptly.
9. Keep Your Computer & Mobile Phone Updated
Updates can take anywhere between minutes to hours, so it’s understandable why you’d want to disable them. However, if your mobile phone or computer isn’t up-to-date, you’ll miss out on important patches that fix errors and vulnerabilities in your operating system. Moreover, you won’t be able to enjoy all the cool new features made available with each new update.
10. Install the Bank’s Mobile App
If your bank has a mobile app, install it, and use that instead. The vast majority of malicious attacks are targeted at computers. Sure, all devices have the potential to be hacked, but the risk is considerably lower for mobile phones.
Learn about DNS Hijacking
11. Don’t Forget to Log Out
Most banks out there will automatically log you out after a short period of inactivity, but you shouldn’t rely on this alone. It’s a much better idea to make it a habit of logging out as soon as you’re finished with your banking session.
This will reduce the likelihood of you getting affected by cross-site scripting and session hijacking attacks. Furthermore, if anyone else gains access to your device, they won’t be able to get into your bank account.
12. Turn Off Bluetooth
Bluetooth provides another opportunity for attackers to get their hands on sensitive information. The feature, which allows devices to communicate with one another, can pose a huge risk to your security if left on in public places. By looking for open Bluetooth signals, these malicious actors can gain access to your device and take over certain functions.
13. Monitor Your Account Regularly
Keep a close eye on all your monthly bank statements. That’s because your bank might fail to detect fraudulent activity on your account. By going through your statements often, you can spot any odd transactions and inform your bank at the earliest.
14. Don’t Use Public Computers
Don’t make the mistake of using a public computer to conduct online banking. The risk of your login credentials getting compromised are higher when you access your bank account from one.
15. Avoid Connecting to Public Wi-Fi
Similarly, you shouldn’t engage in sensitive activities like online banking on Wi-Fi networks at cafes, shopping malls, and other public places. These are often unprotected, meaning hackers can easily intercept your traffic and steal your login credentials. If you absolutely must use a public Wi-Fi hotspot, don’t forget to activate your VPN first.
16. Open Incognito Mode
Whether you’re using a personal computer or a public one for online banking, you wouldn’t want the information you entered to be saved on it – that’s never a good idea! Just fire up incognito mode when you have to make any transactions to prevent cache, cookies, and browsing history from being stored on the device.
17. Enable Bank Email and Text Message Alerts
If you haven’t set up email and text message alerts yet, you should do so right away. You’ll be notified whenever there’s a charge on your bank account, enabling you to proactively monitor your finances. If you’re informed about a transaction you don’t recognize, you can quickly do something about it.
Online Banking Security Tips – FAQs
How Can I Access My Bank Account Online?
There are two ways you can go about accessing your bank account online:
- Visiting your bank’s website and clicking the link “online banking” or button “log in”
- Downloading your bank’s mobile app and logging in using your credentials
Can Your Banking App Be Hacked?
Depends on the bank you have an account with, really. If there are vulnerabilities in its mobile banking app, it can definitely be hacked by malicious actors to steal your account information.
Which is Safer, Online or Mobile Banking?
Both methods have their own strengths and weaknesses, but most experts believe that mobile banking is much more secure than banking via a computer.
Wrapping Things Up
By following the online banking security tips above, you can rest assured that your sensitive data will stay out of the wrong hands. Now it’s up to you – incorporate them into your daily life and keep your hard-earned money safe and sound!
If you have any questions, feel free to use the comments section below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.