10-point check for secure online banking
Are you also one of those people who are always popping to the bank with your payment slip, dutifully completed by hand, because of security concerns? That’s not really necessary. With the following 10-point check, you’ll be well protected when banking online.
An increasing number of people use their bank’s online banking service to conveniently download their account statement from home, wire transfer the rent payment, or pay bills. They can do all this irrespective of opening hours, parking space availability, and the weather. But something unsettles many users – security. Not a day seems to go by without something hitting the headlines about security flaws or threats with online banking. Especially Germans, are particularly worried about scammers getting access to their bank account using stolen data. While these worries are certainly not unfounded, you needn’t go to the bank any longer to perform every transaction. This is because online banking is now not only convenient, but also very secure. Ultimately, the banks have upped their game by greatly improving their security standards and rolling out new technologies. And if you remain alert at all times, there’s practically zero risk involved.
Successfully prevent attacks with the following checklist
1. Do you only use your own computer for online banking?
- No: Neither use another person’s or public PC nor third-party internet access for your online banking activities. You can never be sure whether another computer is free of malware which can, for instance, log your every keystroke. If you do, your login credentials could easily end up in the wrong hands!
2. Do you only use your own Wi-Fi network when banking online?
- No: It’s difficult to say how secure public hotspots or acquaintances’ wireless networks are. If they have poor protection, hackers will find it child’s play to intercept your login credentials.
3. Do you use a tried and tested antivirus program?
- No: Online banking without a good antivirus scanner is like doing a parachute jump without the parachute – extremely unsafe and a very bad idea. Only a powerful antivirus program such as Avira Internet Security ensures that your computer isn’t swimming in malicious viruses that will ferret out your login details among other things.
4. Do you restart your browser before banking online and only open the banking site in an isolated window?
- No: Close all your other browsing tabs before doing your online banking to prevent an attack via another internet site.
5. Before entering anything, do you always check whether the connection is secure?
- No: If you see a green padlock icon next to the browser address bar, the connection is secure.
6. Before entering anything, do you always check your bank’s security certificate?
- No: Click the green padlock icon to verify the certificate and study the details. Leave the internet page immediately if security flaws are reported or the certificate has not been issued for your bank.
7. Do you only enter your login credentials and the transaction authentication number (TAN) using an on-screen keyboard?
- No: Use the on-screen keyboard if the internet page offers one or use the keypad on a card reader. You can call up the on-screen keyboard using the keyboard icon on the internet page. Alternatively, use the Windows on-screen keyboard. Simply type “keyboard” into the Windows search box and hit enter. Following that, click the entry field and enter the characters using the mouse.
8. Have you set up a transfer limit for your online account?
- No: Set a limit for internet transfers. Then scammers, who have managed to slip through the security net despite all the precautions, can’t at least go helping themselves to your hard-earned money. Many banks offer this facility for free. Just ask an advisor.
9. Do you log out correctly at the end of each online banking session and close your browser?
- No: Log out at the end of each online banking session using the logout or sign out button on the banking page and close your browser. Only then is your connection to the bank’s server safely disconnected so hackers can no longer misuse it.
10. Do you check your account statements regularly?
- No: Check your transactions regularly. If something looks suspicious, ask your bank if it’s correct.
If you’ve answered “Yes” to all the questions, you’re doing everything right when banking online. If you’ve only answered one question with a “No”, change your habits.