Security Issues Relating to Internet Banking
By Milton Kazmeyer
Banking via the Internet is an easy way to monitor your business’s finances, allowing you to view payments and deposits on demand. This easy access to financial accounts makes Internet banking a common target for hackers and other online criminals, however. Understanding the security issues relating to Internet banking can help you keep both your personal and business accounts safe from intruders.
The key to protecting your Internet banking account is protecting your password. Using a strong password -- one that contains mixed-case letters, numbers, and even symbols if the bank allows it -- will decrease the likelihood of a hacker cracking the password and gaining access to your account. You should also ensure that the password to access your company’s accounts is not the same as any other password you use, since not every site maintains the same level of security a bank does. If a hacker manages to steal a password from an insecure site, he can access any account that password unlocks.
One of the primary methods a hacker gains access to account information is through phishing, or tricking the victim into giving up the information voluntarily. A hacker might send an e-mail or even call, pretending to be a representative of the bank and informing you about some irregularities with your account. All you need to do to sort things out is to provide your password or other account information to verify your identity. If you ever receive a communication that appears to be from your bank and requests this type of information, contact your bank by phone immediately. Do not give out account information to a caller, and do not click any links provided in any e-mails that claim to be from your bank. You should also ensure that any employees with access to the company’s accounts follow the same procedures.
Keyloggers are malware programs that record keystrokes and other data, allowing a hacker to capture your password as you enter it. Maintaining up-to-date antivirus suites on your company computers can prevent these malicious programs from gaining a foothold, and setting up your network’s firewall to monitor outgoing traffic can help you determine when an infection occurs. Many keyloggers and viruses use email to travel from computer to computer, so adding anti-virus protection to your company’s email server can help filter out these attacks.
If your bank offers two-factor authentication, adopting the technology is a great way to keep your account information safe. Two-factor authentication requires a second code when logging into your account, either provided by an electronic token, or via message sent to a registered cell phone or other device. The extra layer of security renders your password useless to a hacker without the accompanying code.
- US Computer Emergency Readiness Team: Password Security, Protection, and Management
- Kaspersky Securelist: What is Phishing?
- Microsoft Safety & Security Center: What is Phishing?
- PC Tools: What is a Keylogger?
- Microsoft Safety & Security Center: What is Malware?
- RSA: Two-Factor Authentication
- SecuringTheHuman.org: Two-Factor Authentication
Milton Kazmeyer has worked in the insurance, financial and manufacturing fields and also served as a federal contractor. He began his writing career in 2007 and now works full-time as a writer and transcriptionist. His primary fields of expertise include computers, astronomy, alternative energy sources and the environment.