Safe electronic banking: how to protect your account from fraudsters?
Today, we cannot imagine our lives without being able to pay for goods and services with our card or through electronic banking. Making financial transactions has become much easier and faster. Do these improvements come at a cost of security? Below, Tomas Stamulis, the Information Security Management Team Lead at ATEA, describes the fundamentals of security in electronic banking.
Danger arises after giving away login data
“As the number of electronic banking users grows, so does the number of related crimes. And though the electronic banking services used in Lithuania are equipped with the most modern security technology, if a user reveals their login information to another person, the account and the money in it may be exposed to criminals,” warns T. Stamulis.
The best protection when using an ATM – alertness
T. Stamulis advises to always stay alert when using an ATM or electronic banking.
“Before an operation, always check the ATM to see if the card slot has not been tampered with; stay aware of your surroundings during the operation. If a suspicious person comes too close to you or acts strangely, stop the operation and ask the person to move away; when entering PIN, stand close to the ATM and, if necessary, cover the keyboard with your palm. If you notice anything suspicious or if the ATM does not return the card, immediately call the bank. Further, memorize your PIN and do not carry it in written form on your person,” suggests the expert.
If you use your bank card for online shopping, i.e., if the card has activated online payments, do not leave the card unsupervised. If anybody writes down or takes a picture of your card information (owner, card number, expiry date, and the CVV code), they could use your card for online payments and thus drain your account.
Electronic banking data can be extracted by criminals and malware
It is noted that criminals usually extract electronic banking data from unsuspecting users by directing them to fake bank websites or by using malware.
“Today, criminals use social engineering tactics and modern technology to extract the users’ login information. They may pretend to be bank representatives or even intelligence agency officials and, in this disguise, ask users to submit their login information or send them emails directing the users to fake websites where they would be asked to change their password. Any user who receives such an email (or a call – sometimes fraudsters reach out directly by phone) should remember that banks or other organizations never ask for electronic banking login data. If this happens, the user should contact their bank and inquire whether there was a genuine attempt to contact the user. Another way criminals extract user data is to employ malware that can generate login information without the victim knowing that. Such malware is distributed through fictitious online stores, unverified email attachments, or links,” explains T. Stamulis.
Below, T. Stamulis lists the 8 essential tips for securely using electronic banking
1. Use only a trustworthy device
When connecting to your electronic banking account, use your personal device rather than a public or borrowed device.
2. Connect only through a secured internet network
A public Wi-Fi network is not secured. If you want to check your bank account, pay taxes, or buy goods or services using electronic banking, use an encrypted channel. Then, cybercriminals will be unable to reach your information.
3. Check, if the website address is correct
When using electronic banking, make sure that you have accessed the correct website (check the URL address), see if the website is secured with an SSL certificate, if the certificate has been issued to the company that owns the website. It is better to not open links you receive in an email or a message and enter the website address manually.
4. Ensure software safety
Even before you begin using electronic banking, install a trustworthy antivirus program to protect your device and data from malware. Further, make sure that your computer’s operational system and apps used are updated. Do not install illegal or untrustworthy software, which may be executing harmful activities without you knowing.
5. Create a strong password
If you are connecting to your electronic banking account using a password (instead of a code generator or a mobile signature), make sure that your password is strong enough and cannot be easily guessed or hacked.
6. Do not carry your login information on your person
Protect your electronic banking login information and do not carry them in your wallet, notebook, or elsewhere that could be accessed by other people. It is best to memorize your login information and destroy it afterwards.
7. Control your account
When signing your electronic banking contract, list restrictions on your maximum monthly online expenditure. You can also set up a service that allows you to monitor outgoing payments by SMS messages or notifications – this way, you will immediately notice if money starts leaving your account without your approval.
8. Log-off after work
After you use your electronic banking services, log-off immediately. This way, you can protect from cyber hackers or criminals who may monitor your activity and try to use your computer when you are away.