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How to stay safe using online banking

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It is hard to hate anything about online banking. Typically online banks offer better saving rates, making you keep more money, which is never a bad thing considering modern day economical instability. Not to mention that the usage of it is way more convenient, then the traditional bank, because we know that – time is money, and wasted time is wasted money. So why are even talking about it, if everything is so great and profitable? Well, there is one big question that remains with online banking today, and it is hard to go away anytime soon, and that one thing is security.

When you use your online bank account, you trust it to be safe from any internal danger. But a modern day criminal is way smarter today, than he were before. Why risk your life, trying to ambush a bank, with a gun in your hand, if you can get even more money with just a few clicks on your keyboard? And stay anonymous. In order to fight with these threats and protect your savings, credit unions and banks have a variety of policies to keep your account secure. Popular measures include anti-virus protection, website encryption, firewalls, and fraud monitoring. If you are one of those people who bank online, you can be sure that your bank is applying all of those methods. The question remains then – is it enough?

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Today we will talk about the potential dangers, you should be aware of as a customer of online banking by studying prominent matter cases of the past, as well as ways of preventing your account of being hacked.

Things that can happen

Banking applications
If you use online banking regularly, then you are definitely not a stranger of things like mobile payment methods and online banking card readers. Part of this process is the constant usage of the suited mobile apps, that are developed by the companies themselves. The big problem here is that modern smartphones still have serious security flaws that can make it very dangerous to perform transactions using it.

I bet we all remember the year 2014 when a formidable security expert Winston Bond showcased how easy it is to reverse engineer mobile apps, by decompiling them back into its initial source code, altering application’s behaviour and finally re-uploading it back to the server. Using techniques like that can totally compromise a bank app, leading to your credentials being stolen or intercepted. Even the usage of the two-factor authentication will not be enough to combat this problem.

Security Breaches
Banks are often in the crosshairs of hackers. It does not matter how strong in security can one bank be – there will always be someone who will exploit even the smallest weaknesses in the system because all of the systems have them. The prominent example happened in the year 2010, when a lonely hacker broke the security of the Suffolk County National Bank, tapped into its user database and as a result got away with almost 8,000 customer’s login credentials. And no bank is ever safe from this type of cyber attack. If your bank has a database, and believe me it has one, it means it can be stolen. It is still hard to argue if online banks are strictly less safe than traditional banks, but everyone can agree that threats like described above are serious and hard to prevent.

Staying in the dark
Do you remember the big scandal revolving around Bank of America, that happened in late 2011? The bank’s website was flawed in that it has exposed its customers’ data in a rather unusual way. People that were logging into their accounts sometimes saw account details of other customers. Unbelievable! This situation is particularly horrible in its example since Bank of America did not get hacked or exposed by someone, but rather it was a simple oversight form the bank itself. Respected bank with years of serious reputation, pulled the most rookie mistake you could ever imagine.

But you know what the absolute worst part of this story was. After knowing how bad their bank screwed itself, they did not notify any of their customers about the mistake. They simply decided not to update their customers with this, for them to change their password, personal info, etc.

Things you can do to prevent it

Industry-standard security
I bet you are definitely looking on using a bank that offers low fees and high interests. But you should never cross security as your top priority. And in order to achieve that, make sure that your online account will be backed with modern robust technologies while the bank itself is partnership relations with a solid bank software development company counting its history in at least 2 digits.

Look at the multifactor authentication for example – when you login into your account, you are not just to provide your password, but another piece to proof to identify yourself as you. This could be as simple as a message sent to your mobile phone, or even your fingerprint. The point here is to have an additional layer of protection, which makes it way more difficult to steal anything from you. Many of the larger banking institutions provide these services today, so it should not be that hard to find something suitable for you.

Public Wi-Fi
While using a public network, you cannot be a hundred percent sure, who sees the information you send online, unless each page you see is encrypted. It is better to lay your trust in your home security network. So if you are in an urgent need of logging into your banking account while away from home, consider using your cellular data plan instead of public Wi-Fi, or VPN. No matter what you choose, check for the web-page encryption and make sure that your browser address page starts with “https”. The letter “s” will signal that this page is secure.

Text alerts
Most of the institutions today have an option of sending you a notification, every time a transaction has been made using your account. This way, if someone will steal your money and make a purchase without your consent you will be able to act immediately, and block your card in order to prevent further fraud activity. The best thing is that many banks today have a return “within 60 days” policy for specific cases like that.

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