With the invention of the internet, a lot has changed, including the way we bank and access our accounts. It's amazing to think that just a few years ago, we had to physically visit a bank to make deposits and withdrawals. Nowadays, we can easily take a picture of a check and deposit it right from our phone. It's no wonder that approximately 73% of people around the world use some form of online banking at least once a month - it's so convenient!
However, with this convenience comes a cost, as the rise of online banking has also led to an increase in banking-related cybercrime. In fact, in 2021, account takeover fraud increased by 90%, and new account fraud skyrocketed by 109%. The consequences of a breach in your bank account can be devastating, and the losses you incur may not be recouped from your financial institution.
In this article, we'll go over some mistakes that people often make, leaving their accounts at risk, and provide you with some essential tips on how to better protect your bank account.
Let's take a closer look at the mistakes people often make that allow cybercriminals to access their accounts:
- Not enabling two-factor authentication (2FA): This is a straightforward process that provides an additional layer of security to your online account. By enabling this setting, you require an extra step to gain access to your account, which usually involves receiving a one-time passcode (OTP) by SMS and entering it at login. Unfortunately, many people either don't know about this feature or think it's too inconvenient, leaving their account vulnerable to a breach.
- Falling for phishing scams: There are several types of phishing scams that target online banking. Cybercriminals send emails that look like they come from your bank, and some even promise incredibly low rates on credit cards. Others can involve warning you of unauthorized account activity, but when you click the link to log in, you're redirected to a fake page that looks just like your normal bank website. These are just a few ways that scammers can get your online banking login details, and once they have them, they'll act immediately to get whatever they can.
- Using easy-to-guess passwords: If your account password is easy to remember, it's also often easy to guess. Using weak passwords is a common mistake that enables many cybercriminals. To avoid this, it's best to make your passwords at least ten characters long, include at least one number, one symbol, and one uppercase letter, and avoid making them personal (e.g., don't use your birthdate, etc.)
- Downloading unsafe mobile apps: Banking trojans are often hidden in malicious mobile apps, sometimes appearing to be something as innocent as a task manager. Once installed, these banking trojans seek out any details they can find, specifically banking and wallet apps.
- Logging into online banking while on public Wi-Fi: A surefire way to give away your online banking password is to log in while on public Wi-Fi. Hackers can easily spy on the activity of others while hanging out on public hot spots, and you should never type in a password or other sensitive details when connected to public Wi-Fi.
To improve your online banking security, here are some essential tips you should consider:
- Turn on two-factor authentication: This setting, also known as multi-factor authentication or two-step verification, is an excellent way to block 99.9% of fraudulent account login attempts.
- Set up banking alerts: Time is of the essence when an intruder breaches your account, so it's best to notify your bank of the breach as quickly as possible. To reduce the impact on you, you can set up banking alerts through your online banking, such as low-balance alerts and login attempts from unrecognized devices.
- Download Antivirus software: This can provide an additional layer of protection for your PC and mobile device. Reliable antivirus software can help prevent malware from infecting your device and compromising your banking information. DNS filtering, on the other hand, blocks access to dangerous phishing sites before they can do any harm.
- Learn more about phishing: If you're not sure how to identify phishing attempts, or you want to stay up to date on the latest scams, taking phishing awareness classes can be incredibly helpful. These classes can teach you how to spot phishing attempts through email, text, and phone, which can help you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.
If you're feeling overwhelmed or just want to make sure you have all your bases covered, consider seeking help from a professional. There are digital solutions available that can help keep your family safer from online threats. Layer 2 Computers offers security services for your laptop & PC's. Contact us today to schedule a chat about your online security needs.