Online Banking Security and Secure Passwords
Online banking security is a major concern for many computer users. In 2014 JPMorgan Chase & Co. was the target of a large-scale computer security breach which affected 76 million households; if it can happen to a large banking institution, it could happen to you. While there is certainly cause for concern, there is no need to run screaming from online banking just yet. There are a few good practices that you can implement to protect yourself, while still benefiting from the convenience of online banking.
Secure Your Computer
The first step in protecting yourself online is to maintain a clean and secure computer. Make sure that you have a security program or antivirus with active protection, and that you run a full scan at least once a week. This will remove malware from your computer, like viruses or spyware and other forms of malware that could steal your passwords, account access codes, or debit and credit card information.
Always perform Windows Updates as soon as they are available. Windows Updates are designed to keep your PC safe, as well as up-to-date. They fix bugs and update security features, which is integral to online security.
Similarly, make sure that all third-party software is frequently updated, including browser add-ons and extensions. The many data breaches of 2014 proved that unpatched software can leave anyone vulnerable.
Use a Password Manager
This is where password managers come in handy. They allow you to store long and complex passwords for greater online banking security, so you don’t have to remember them. And if you don’t have to remember your passwords, you can generate complex passwords with our free Password Generator.
Phishing and Online Banking Security
Another common threat to online banking security is phishing. Phishing is the attempt to steal sensitive information, like usernames, passwords and access codes, by pretending to be a credible business.
In the case of online banking, this is typically attempted two ways: through fake banking websites and fake banking emails.
Fake banking websites lie in wait for people to make a mistake when typing the URL into the address bar of the web browser, as their addresses are deceptively similar to those of legitimate bank websites. These “spoof websites” are designed to look like your regular online banking portal so you enter your private account details. Because of this, it’s best to avoid typing the URL for your online banking site into the address bar. To ensure that you have a more secure connection you can bookmark your banking website in your browser, or you can access it through the SpeedyPassword dashboard on your browser.
Phishing emails claiming to be from banking institutions are also very common. A legitimate bank will never ask you to verify your account credentials by email. Do not click on or open attachments in banking emails, even if they appear to be from your bank. If your bank requires stronger authentication, it will be through the website, and they will usually require you to answer one or more online banking security questions that you have predetermined.
The message here is not to be afraid of online banking, but to take control of your online banking security, and to educate yourself about online security threats.
January 15, 2015 / By: Laura B. Goode