Security Tools for Online Banking

Tools used by financial institutions to keep financial information safe

03/28/2014

Security Tools for Online Banking

Online banking has become an everyday occurrence for plenty of Americans these days. Whether you keep things simple by just checking your balance online and making the occasional transfer or you pay all of your bills online and then some, it’s important for you to know that both your finances and your personal information are safe and secure. Rest assured, because most, if not all, financial institutions employ a variety of online banking safety features that keep your most critical information locked up.
 
According to Rob Berger of MSN Money, roughly 423.5 million people accessed online banking sites in 2012.
 
“With increased usage, however, online banking is becoming an increasingly attractive target for hackers,” Berger warned. “Banking websites are likely hit by hacking attacks every single day. While that may be unsettling to hear, there is a silver lining. As a result of those attacks, banks continually improve their systems to effectively deal with such attacks.”
 
There are both physical and technical safeguards that are employed to ensure the security of your finances. Some of these safeguards include the following.
  1. Password-controlled entry. In order to access your financial institution, you will need to establish a password for your account. According to Microsoft.com, the top tips for creating a strong password are making it eight characters long, avoiding using names or complete words, and making it distinctly different from other passwords you currently use.
  2. Geographic and device recognition. Similar to passwords, another feature your financial institution uses as another level of security is recognition of your geographic location and the device (computer, tablet or mobile phone) you are attempting to login on to. If either of those is not recognized, you will be asked challenge questions or will be asked to verify your registered email address to ensure that you are the one accessing your information.
  3. Firewalls. Firewalls create a barrier between your financial institution’s internal systems and the Internet. This helps keep information protected while allowing the financial institution to monitor all activity within online banking, including log-ins and access violations.
  4. Automatic time-out period. If you have entered your online banking account, but you’ve been inactive for a specified period of time, the site will automatically time out or log you out of your session to prevent others from viewing your Internet activity.
Despite the numerous tools that financial institutions use to make sure your finances and your personal information are secure, fraudulent activity can still happen.
 
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “There are multiple ways to steal a password. The fastest-growing methods, which have caused the current concern about fraud, are e-mail phishing and Trojan horse programs. ... Once a thief gets a password, there are a number of ways the victim can be defrauded.”
 
Thankfully, there are additional steps that you can take to go the extra step to protecting your financial security:
  • Don’t give your password to anyone.
  • Use a password with both upper- and lowercase letters.
  • Change your password every six months.
  • When you end your online banking session, be sure to log off.

If you have questions about online banking and the security of your information online, contact us today.

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