The benefits of online banking are obvious. In most cases, it’s faster and more efficient than a trip to the bank, and it allows you an up-to-date look at your accounts at any time. Online banking makes banking easier in many ways, but to get the most out of your online financial experience, it’s important to protect yourself in a few basic ways. Clay Baum, Origin Bank’s Information Security Officer, shared five keys to ensuring your data is safe:
- Secure your PC. Make sure to keep your antivirus software up to date, preventing hackers from accessing your passwords or other sensitive information. Out-of-date antivirus software might not protect against the latest attempts to steal your information! Similarly, making sure you have the latest version of your operating system is crucial for the same reason – software developers are constantly working to close any loopholes that might allow thieves a way to get your data. The only way to know you’re up to speed is by keeping your software updated.
- Don’t trust email for sensitive information. It’s easy to think of email as a sure thing – after all, with just one click your message appears in the inbox of your intended recipient. However, as Clay notes, recent security breaches at free email providers demonstrate that email is often an easy target for hackers. Once they gain access to a password list, any information you’ve sent via email is theirs, too. Hackers often try to use your compromised email to ask for sensitive information by impersonating you. If what you’re sending is valuable, avoid using email.
- Use multifactor authentication any time it’s available. Multifactor authentication confirms that you are who you say in at least two steps. Instead of simply entering a password, multifactor authentication adds an additional step such as a text message with a pin for confirmation. This way, even if your password is compromised, a hacker would still need access to your phone to access your account. Many secure websites (including our own) now use multifactor authentication, and it’s an important step toward making your information safer.
- Choose secure passwords. This means choosing different passwords for each login, and potentially using a password manager to remember all your passwords if necessary. No, choosing and remembering different passwords isn’t fun, but it’s absolutely necessary. Avoid a situation in which someone stealing your email password also automatically gains access to your bank account and your social media profiles at the same time.
- Be careful where you click. Updating your antivirus protection and having the latest version of your operating system is the first step, but to truly protect yourself, you also need to check your internet behavior. A common hacker ploy is to create a fake website that appears to be a site you commonly use. Once you’ve entered your login info, you’ve compromised the security of your account on the actual site. To prevent this, never click a link in an email or anywhere else that claims to direct you to a banking or other secure site.
With the right measures, you can make sure your financial information is safe on the web, and move forward with easier, faster, no-hassle banking. If you have any questions about banking securely online, contact our team to discuss your personal circumstances. We’re here to help!