The future of banking is online, and while sending or receiving money and accepting or making payments from our smartphones feels like the zenith of efficiency and comfort, the system comes with its downsides. Our money is less safe now, and security is largely your responsibility, as opposed to the financial institutions’. This opens the door for potential exploitation from scammers and hackers. By becoming familiar with online security, you can halt these cybercriminals in their tracks. Read on for five tips to keep your money and data safe as you explore the world of online banking:
1. Install a VPN
Virtual private networks, or VPNs, were once reserved for the leading lights in the tech world, but that’s no longer the case. Anyone can be a target of cybercriminals now, and encrypting your data and anonymously browsing the internet is a necessity, not a choice. VPNs keep you safe from snoopers who may peep into your transactions, figure out your IP, and get hold of more personal information. There are many VPNs that you can get for cheap to keep not just your financial information but also your other online activities masked. Take the time to understand your needs before settling on a VPN.
2. Use a strong password
Your password is your gateway to your account. If a hacker gets hold of it and your username, they can get into your account disguised as you, potentially without you ever knowing they did it. For this reason, it is advisable to avoid using passwords that can be easily guessed. Your password should be several characters long and a mixture of numbers, special symbols, and letters both in uppercase and lowercase. It should also be something you have never used in another account.
3. Use trusted devices
Always use devices you can trust when accessing your online banking accounts. If possible, choose a device and stick to it. Public computers may contain malware, keyloggers, and spyware, which may expose you to individuals with malicious intent. Ensure the computer or smartphone you use is frequently scanned for malware and its operating system and software are always up to date.
4. Use secure Wi-Fi
The urge to use that open school or café Wi-Fi to connect to the internet may prove irresistible, but that is a great risk you are exposing yourself to. Open, unsecured Wi-Fi networks do not encrypt data; they send it as it is in an open field of communication lines, meaning a hacker could easily identify your line. You don’t have to worry about encryption if you have a VPN in your device, but for good measure, it is wise to avoid unsecured wireless networks at all costs, especially when making online transactions from your online banking accounts.
We are deep into the digital era, and survival and success partly mean shaping up or shipping out. You have to stay abreast of any developments. The above tips help you enjoy the fruits of early adoption of online banking without jeopardizing your security or that of your finances.