Online banking provides the convenience of performing a range of transactions without setting foot in a physical bank. It provides the ability to check balances, pay bills, manage credit cards, make transfers and a range of other options without having to wait in line.
The proliferation of the use of online banking resources have made it attractive for cyber criminals to try to capture your information. The websites provided by the financial institutions are typically quite secure, so the cyber criminals resort to other means to get your information directly from you.
- Phishing: Cyber criminals create fake emails that look like ‘real’ emails from your bank or financial institution asking you to reply with personal information. Be extra cautious if you’re ever asked to provide sensitive information (your name, password, account number, PIN) – a bank would never ask for this by email. Also avoid links in emails that take you to websites other than your online banking site.
- Malware: This is malicious software that cyber criminals spread online and can get onto your computer in a number of ways. While you believe you’re banking safely, it can steal account information by capturing your keystrokes, such as the credit card or bank card number you entered or even hijack your account and transfer funds without your knowledge. This is done with software that launches a hidden browser window on your computer that logs in and accesses your account.
- Pharming: These attacks by cyber criminals involve redirecting your access to a legitimate website to a fake website that looks like the genuine one, but isn’t. It may look very similar to your online banking site and include extra fields on forms that you enter (PIN, date of birth, mother’s maiden name) and, without realizing it, you submit this information directly to the criminal.
- When you’re banking online: always look for the “lock” icon and an “https://” connection to be sure you have a safe connection.
- Where possible, avoid using public computers to conduct online banking transactions.
- Ensure your computers and devices have the most current security software, web browser, and operating systems.