A Guide To Internet Banking Security
The internet is a worldwide phenomenon that has made the life of many people easier and more convenient. Imagine being able to do a host of financial transactions online from buying and selling products and services to paying bills and transferring money without having to leave the comfort of your home or office. Apart from individuals and entrepreneurs who have made their presence online, the banking industry has joined the bandwagon as well.
With the advent of internet banking, customers are given the ability to do multiple financial tasks in just a few clicks of a button. While this may be fast and easy, security threats always exist causing worry among many consumers. Among the different fraudulent online activities that have been identified are the identity theft, phishing, pharming, hacking and spamming. In these criminal acts, it's often hard to identify the perpetrators.
Banks Security Obligations
As providers of internet banking services, banks have the responsibility of ensuring a secure environment for customers notably as money is always involved in financial transactions. But while this is already being done, experts say that the end user or the public also have to play their part in understanding the risks involved in internet banking and to take precautions to minimize the risks of banking online.
Currently, there are two basic security methods used for internet banking - the PIN/TAN system and the signature based encryption system. The PIN/TAN system involves the use of a PIN as password when logging in and TAN which is a one-time password meant to authenticate transactions. On the other hand, the signature-based internet banking involves the use of digital signature and encryption technology.
Other countermeasures available include digital certificates used against phishing and pharming and the class-3 card readers which prevent the manipulation of transactions.
Clients Security Obligations
On the part of consumers, they can take several important steps to make sure they and their money are protected when transacting online. The first step is to avoid engaging in online banking or any other sensitive transactions on public computers such as internet cafes. Never leave your computer or mobile device unattended during an online banking session. Make sure you log out of online banking when you are finished and close your browser to ensure any cached copies of your online banking web pages are cleared.
Another vital step they can take is to be sure that the computers they use at home have adequate security measures such as a firewall, anti-virus scanners and anti-spam programs.
Being vigilant when it comes to your bank accounts and transactions is also a protective measure. Be sure to check your bank statements regularly and report immediately to the bank management or customer service any transactions that you did not do.
Additionally, avoid downloading software and email attachments you are doubtful about as these may contain viruses that can wreak havoc to your computer system.
Protect your online ID and password. PINs (personal identification number) or passwords, should never be written down or kept in your wallet. Do not share your online banking password or PIN with anyone. Giving your password or PIN to another person or a company puts your privacy and finances at risk.
Make it difficult for people to guess your password. Use a unique combination of numbers and letters and change them on a periodic basis. If you think someone knows your password, change it right away.
Internet fraud worldwide has caused banks and other commercial companies to lose millions of dollars in a variety of transactions. Keep in mind that the internet is not 100 percent safe and there are always people who will find ways by hook or by crook to commit crimes online. With this reality, it's essential then that consumers understand the possible threats in internet banking.
Identity Theft refers to the collection of someone else's personal information with the intent to commit a crime. As of January 2010 it is a criminal offense to possess another person's identity information for criminal purposes.
Identity Fraud is the actual fraudulent use of another person's identity information to commit a crime by impersonating that person.
Technology, mainly the internet, has opened the door to more sophisticated means of identity theft such as skimming, phishing, and hacking of personal computers to gather personal information of potential victims.
Skimming is an electronic method of capturing a victim's personal information for the purpose theft. A skimmer is an electronic device that scans a credit card and stores the information contained in the magnetic strip. This can happen during a regular credit card transaction, often when your card is out of your sight. This information can then be used by an identity thief to make purchases or withdraw cash in the name of the actual account holder. To prevent this happening to YOU always keep your credit, debit and ATM cards within view while making these type of transactions.
Phishing scams are attempts by fraudsters to steal personal information for financial gain. These unsolicited emails or texts request account numbers, passwords or other personal information from recipients and often request an immediate response or account will be closed. Fake emails like these are even made to look like they come from legitimate companies like banks or businesses. Do not fall prey to these scammers!
Hackers - Computer hackers pose a serious threat to identity security. Viruses can be spread to your computer which allow hackers to gain control of your computer and steal any information you have stored on it. Wireless networks can be breached and hackers can use malware to figure out your username and password to gain control of your computer. To help prevent this happening to YOU make sure you have anti-virus and anti-spyware installed on your computer and it is kept up to date. Do not enter personal information in surveys or on websites that look suspicious.
Victims of identity theft or fraud can experience financial loss as well as difficulty in securing credit, and restoring their "good name".
How to Prevent Identity Theft
- Do not give personal or financial information to any unsolicited sources, email, fax, telephone or regular mail.
- Reduce the number of identity documents you carry in your wallet or purse.
- Check credit reports, bank, and credit card statements on a regular basis and report any irregularities.
- Swipe your debit or credit cards yourself rather than hand it over to cashier.
- Protect your PIN number when using an ATM or PIN pad.
- Shred personal and financial documents before throwing them in the garbage.
Online Security Guarantee
To encourage clients to use internet banking, many of the banks offer a 100% money back guarantee in the unlikely event that account losses occur resulting from unauthorized use of their online banking services.