Online banking makes it easier for consumers to monitor their finances, pay bills, and invest in assets. Although mobile banking is convenient for consumers, cyberhackers try to infiltrate online banks and obtain sensitive information. Hackers use diverse and ever-changing methods to obtain personal information and use it to access people’s bank accounts. Knowing how hackers work and the best cybersecurity practices can help you keep your bank account safe.
How do hackers get into online banks?
Hackers use various methods, but their strategies revolve around stealing your personal information. Some hackers buy your information from recent data breaches and hope that you use the same login credentials for your online bank account.
Other hackers use malware that gets into your computer and makes your information more vulnerable. A keylogger is one type of malware that lets a hacker see everything you type, including your usernames and passwords. Clicking on a suspicious link or downloading a sketchy app can make your device vulnerable to malware.
7 ways to protect your bank account
It doesn’t take a lot to help keep your bank account safe from hackers. You can help keep your bank account safe with these strategies.
1. Check the link before logging into your bank account
Some hackers attempt to get your information through phishing emails. Usually, the hacker sends you to a fake website that looks like your bank’s website. Once you enter your username and password into the site, the hacker has that information. You can avoid this problem by checking the website URL and email address to ensure they aren’t sketchy.
Hackers use a similar approach for apps. They create fake mobile banking apps that look legitimate and ask for login credentials. You can spot fake apps by checking the number of downloads and reviews.
2. Change your password every 1 to 3 months
Data leaks are a common occurrence. Hotel chains, social networks, and retailers are some of the entities that have experienced breaches in the past. The information obtained from each breach varies, but it’s possible that your username and password combinations are floating around the dark web. Some hackers pay for this information and hope that you use the same password for every account.
Changing your password across your important accounts (not just your bank account) every 1 to 3 months can help keep hackers away. If the hacker obtains a previous username and password combination, it will get outdated quickly if you periodically change your password. It’s also a good idea to use special symbols in your password to make it more difficult to guess.
3. Monitor your financial activity
Sometimes, hackers get into your account despite your best efforts and make purchases with your debit or credit card. Under this scenario, you can freeze your cards and contact your bank for the next steps. Consumers should review their bank accounts at least once a week to see if suspicious transactions have taken place, but it is better to monitor this information several times each week.
4. Set up two-factor authentication
Many online banks let you enable two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of protection to your account. A hacker will need more than your username and password to gain access to your account. While it takes extra time for you to log in, two-factor authentication can protect the wealth you have built over the years.
5. Use a virtual private network (VPN)
VPNs let you hide your IP address and web search history when using a public Wi-Fi network. Public Wi-Fi networks without data encryption can be security risks, but a VPN keeps your personal information safe.
6. Install ad blockers
Some hackers target victims with malware ads. These ads can be hard to avoid at times and easy to click on, especially with a mobile device. Your computer can become infected with malware if you click on one of these ads. Ad blockers give you a more pleasant online experience with fewer ads. While ad blockers are enticing enough for that reason alone, they also help with cybersecurity.
7. Work with a reputable online bank
You can do your best to keep your online banking safe from hackers, but the online bank also has to help. Before committing to an online bank, check how the bank protects people from hackers. It’s common for top banks to use data encryption and other protective measures to keep your bank account safe. Banks with multiple breaches may not be reliable, especially if they have not made changes to their cybersecurity protocols.
Prioritize Online Banking Security
It takes time to save money and build your retirement funds. Many years of hard work and discipline can get you to the finish line. However, a single cyberattack can deplete your savings. The best thing you can do is protect your bank account and follow the best practices. Staying on top of your online accounts will minimize the likelihood of becoming a victim of a cyberattack.
Is online banking safe?
Online banking is safe, but you should practice cybersecurity protocols to protect your account. Any online account is susceptible to hackers. Stay careful and make sure your online bank takes cybersecurity seriously.
How can I protect my online bank account from hackers?
You can help protect your online bank account by periodically changing your password, reviewing email addresses and links before submitting your login credentials, and applying other strategies.
Is it safe to do online banking from my smartphone?
Yes. It can be safe to use your mobile device for online banking. Make sure you download the official app by checking the number of downloads and reviews.