Security Practices for Safe Online Banking

With the advent of the computer and more especially the internet there are a number of common activities that have become popular online. Banking is one of these and while in days gone by a trip to your local branch was required to carry out many transactions, these days a click of the mouse can have the same results. Most banks these days have online operations and many people like the convenience of being able to carry out banking activities at any time in the comfort of their own home. However online security is an issue that concerns many people and it pays to be careful when using online banking services. While the majority of people will have no problems, it is common sense to take all precautions to ensure the security of your online banking is not compromised. The following are some measures which can be taken to help avoid becoming a victim of online banking fraud.

Generally it is recommended that at least 8 characters are used to create an online password and this should be a mix of letters and numbers. The greater the variety of characters used in a password, the more secure it will tend to be. While they may be easier for you to remember, it is generally best to avoid using obvious passwords such as names and birth dates, as if someone does get access to your personal details these are usually the first things they will try as they attempt to crack a password. When you have a password try it out in a password checker to evaluate its strength. These can easily be found on the internet with the Microsoft password checker shown below being an example

If you have more than one online account it is generally best to use a different password for each one rather than using one standard password. This will help to ensure that should a password be compromised it does not affect all your online banking sites.

As well as trying to find a strong password it is also recommended that you change these on a regular basis. This can be done annually and most sites make this a fairly simple task to do. Many fraudsters if they have access to your account will take small amounts and continually do this over a period of time hoping it will not be noticed. Changing your password regularly cuts down on the chances of this being allowed to continue.

While you need to choose a password that is strong and hard to crack it also needs to be convenient enough for you to memorize. It is generally a bad idea to write down passwords in any shape or form and is much better if you can choose something that you can commit to memory. Writing down a password increases the chances that it will be compromised and is therefore something that should be avoided if at all possible.

No bank will ask you to confirm personal details by email or provide links to their sign in page. If you find an email in your inbox that asks you to confirm your personal details or has a link for you to click on to access the banks website then it is definitely a fake and a scam. These should be ignored and deleted or forwarded on to the relevant section of your bank to show them the details of what you were sent. Always be highly suspicious of any mail that comes from your bank. If you do open it, don’t click on any attachments as this can have malicious software that can compromise the security of your computer.

If you prefer using online banking it is best to have your own personal computer for home use. Using public computers in libraries and internet cafes is not a good idea for carrying out personal online banking. It increases the chances of your password and other personal details being compromised and if you forget to close down before leaving it can leave you open to fraud. Many internet cafes have a time limit for use and when this time is up the machine automatically logs you out. The danger with this is if you still have a secure site open when the machine logs you out there is a danger the information may still be there to view when the next person is logged in. It is best to stick to your own computer for online banking.

A good practice to get into the hang off even when you are using your own computer is to always log out and close the browser page when you finish banking. It is a good habit to get into and should ensure that if you do have to use another computer for whatever reason you will automatically do this when you are finished.

Online banking can be a convenient way to use the services of your bank and used in a sensible manner it is a secure way to operate. Taking account of the practices set out above should help to enhance your security and ensure that your online banking experiences are positive and serve you well.