Tips for Safe Online Banking

Tips for Safe Online Banking

Though banks still exist on the high street banking is predominantly done online, whether you're adding or withdrawing funds.

Unfortunately, where there's money there will always be unscrupulous individuals trying to steal it. Therefore it is vital to take online banking very serious when it comes to your security.

Below you will find some tips on how you can help secure your online bank account.

  • Never leave the machine when you are logged on and log out of online banking when you are finished
  • When you log out - close the browser and clear your history.
  • Avoid using online banking in online cafes or other computers you have no control over.
  • Learn your password by heart - it should not be shared with anyone, not even bank employees.
  • Keep your login details in a safe place.

Create a good password:

  • Your password is personal and must not be shared with others.
  • Do not write down your password.
  • Do not use combinations that are easy to guess, such as initials, birth dates, phone numbers or names of family members.
  • The password should not be the same as your username or consist of parts of the username.
  • If you suspect that your password has become known to others, change it immediately and contact your bank.

Ensure that your computer has:

  • A firewall and anti-virus! Without this, your machine could become infected!
  • Be sure to update your antivirus software regularly. Keep your operating system updated. Please check manually a few times a month, and make sure the automatic control is activated.
  • Never share folders. Check the settings for shared folders under network settings in the Control Panel.
  • Lock down sensitive information. Use encryption tools on documents that are confidential or of a sensitive nature.
  • Be careful with e-mails. If you do not know the sender of an e-mail you should never open attachments!
  • Configure your browser to prompt you to allow active content. Many websites use so-called scripts to enhance your surfing experience. However, this is a security risk as it involves program code to run on your own computer.
  • Never give out information of a personal nature.
  • Make regular backups. Data can be accidentally deleted or corrupted by a virus.
  • Encrypt your hard disk to to prevent sensitive information being revealed if your computer gets stolen.

Wireless network

  • Change the default user name and password on the router and the wireless network.
  • Enable access control. If your router has this option create your own list of which machines are allowed to use your Internet connection.
  • Turn on encryption. Use WPA or WPA2 if you can.
  • Hide SSID (network name).
  • If there is a firewall option turn this on for extra protection.

Firewall

There are several types of software you can use to secure your computer, including a firewall. It is not safe enough with only a firewall, you should also have antivirus software installed on your machine.

What is a firewall?

A firewall protects your computer from attacks over the Internet and within your network from hackers. The firewall also keeps track of the programs that try to send information to and receive information from the Internet. This means that if a program, such as a virus program, is attempting to send information from your computer, then the firewall will stop this until you have approved it.

If you are in doubt as to whether to allow a program to send information, you should always say no. A search on Google can often reveal if the application requesting access to the network is safe or not.

How to obtain a firewall?

Windows computers come with a free built-in firewall, but this has limited features and a paid version is much better. Most security packages come with both anti-virus and firewall as standard.

What is antivirus software?

A antivirus program checks the files you receive. If the program detects a virus it will isolate or remove that threat. You should adjust the program so that it monitors your computer all the time and not just when you start it.

Where can I obtain antivirus software?

Please check out our dedicated antivirus software page where we have dozens of free antivirus programs that can be downloaded.

By default your antivirus software should automatically update, so that it is able to stop the latest viruses threats. To be on the safe side, you should check whether this option is enabled.

Operating system and applications

Weaknesses in operating systems and applications are constantly being exposed. Therefore it is important that you secure yourself against these weaknesses as soon as they are discovered. You must update your software regularly. This also applies to applications you use to communication with the Web, such as:

  • Browser
  • E-mail program
  • Document reader (eg, Adobe Reader)
  • Java
  • Chat program

Also remember media player software such as:

  • Flash
  • Windows Media Player
  • Apple Quicktime
  • Silverlight

Always make sure you have installed the latest security patches from the software supplier.

Spyware

There are many who are interested in what you do when you use your computer and the web. Unfortunately not everybody asks nicely for this information, but are spying on you instead.

What is spyware?

Spyware is a program that is installed on your computer that you do not know about. The program keeps track of what you are doing on-line. What information is collected depends on the spyware. Some spyware will be interested in your email address, while others are interested in the statistics on which pages you visit most often. Such a program can also report personal information such as account numbers and passwords.

How does spyware get installed on your PC?

Spyware may have been installed along with other software that you have downloaded from the web and installed on your computer. You should therefore be very critical of who you accept software from. Spyware may also have been installed via a virus.

How to protect yourself from spyware

To protect yourself against spyware is fairly straightforward. Always remember to have installed on your PC:

  • An antivirus program
  • A firewall
  • Anti-spyware
  • Or a complete security package

What is phishing?

Phishing is when fraudsters try to obtain your account information using false websites and emails. Such emails claim for example that there is a vulnerability in the bank's computer system, which asks you to provide personal and account information. Banks never send e-mails with questions about account information.

Tips to protect yourself from phishing:

  • Never reply to emails asking you to provide sensitive information such as credit card numbers and account numbers.
  • Always check the web URL at the top of your browser to make sure it is not a spoof site pretending to be your official bank. For example, Lloyds bank official web addresses is http://www.lloydsbank.com/ and a spoof site may attempt to use a subdomain that might look something like this lloydsbank.fakesite.co.uk.
  • Make sure the site you're visiting uses encryption when you leave confidential information. Look for a yellow padlock and https: in the beginning of the URL.
  • Check bank and credit card statements regularly.
  • Report any fraudulent activity and contact your bank immediately if you suspect fraud.