The entire point of banks is to keep your money safe from theft, right? Well, with the rise of online banking, there are some unfortunate new variables in bank security. If you don’t think it’s a serious problem, it may shock you to learn that 4 billion bank accounts were breached in the first quarter of 2021, which has only worsened since.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure that your most important data is protected. Let’s talk about some important online banking security tips to help protect your hard-earned savings!
1. Use a Strong Password
Whether your bank requires it or not, use a strong and diverse password. One compromised password is all that it takes for a thief to steal your entire account’s worth of cash.
If you don’t think anyone would ever guess “iloveponies1” because you’ve never expressed an interest in ponies, think again. Any set of words that are easily recognizable is dangerous to keep as your password, especially for banking. If the potential attacker sees this for half a second, they’ll be able to recognize and remember it.
However, passwords that resemble a “keyword scramble” with various numbers, symbols, letters, and capitalizations in random order are virtually impossible to remember after one glance. Notice how easily you were able to read our example password there. Your brain is hard-wired to pick out words that you know.
Therefore, a password like “aT42Zb@67” is considered incredibly strong. Don’t just take the same password you’ve always used and add an exclamation point at the end of it!
2. Change Your Passwords Often
Remember, one compromised password was enough to achieve the Colonial Pipeline breach that almost shut down the world economy in 2021. You would have to assume your bank account is much easier to breach!
Moreover, you can use an encrypted password manager to avoid memorizing all of your passwords. We don’t expect anyone to do so.
Still, it’s good to change your passwords every three to six months. You can easily save them on your password manager browser extension or program. Set reminders to change passwords in regular intervals, so you don’t forget!
Also, if you have multiple bank accounts or credit cards, use different login credentials for these accounts. It’s bad enough if an attacker gets into one of your accounts. Without diverse passwords, you’re risking all of them at once.
3. Secure Your Network
Use a virtual private network (VPN) when possible for the best results. Never access your banking information on an unsecured network unless you are using a VPN. Otherwise, potential attackers connected to that network will have access to your bank account information.
Also, at home and at work, make sure that whatever network you use has a strong password attached to it.
4. Use Two-Factor Authentication
If your bank offers it, set up two-factor authentication. This could include biometrics, email verifications, SMS codes, and more. This way, even if a potential attacker gets ahold of your password or pin, they still can’t access the account.
While this may be annoying to access every time you want to check your bank accounts, it can make a world of difference for your online banking security.
Also, if using email or SMS recovery, make sure the password to access these is different from your banking password!
5. Check Regularly
One of the best things you can do to improve your bank security is to keep an eye on your account. The more often you check your bank account, the more likely you are to notice when something happens. Otherwise, attackers could continue using funds in your bank account for years before you realize it.
Pay attention and look for any unexpected changes to your balance or questionable transactions. If you notice something, contact your bank right away and freeze your accounts immediately if the issue isn’t settled.
6. Never Click Links to Your Bank
Some common phishing scams include linking you to what appears to be your bank. This is especially common if you use a larger bank like Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, or Citi. Because of the sheer volume of accounts in these banks, it’s worth it for attackers to set up fake websites that replicate these.
Then, you’ll receive an email that seems like it’s from your bank, type in your login information, and boom – they have it.
For this reason, always type in your bank’s URL yourself when on a web browser, or click directly on the app on your phone. Don’t take your chances with links, especially from a text or email. Even if you’re sure that it’s legitimate, just play it safe and go manually!
7. Choose the Right Bank
To keep your account secure, you’ll need an easy-to-use bank account that allows you to check your bank information online safely. You need the right balance of security and convenience for the best experience.
Overall, you want a bank with high levels of in-house security, regular monitoring, password protection, and two-factor authentication. Check out this page to learn more!
Improve Your Online Banking Security Today
Now that you know some small steps to improve your online banking security, protect yourself right away. Cyberattacks are only becoming more frequent and more devastating. Unfortunately, it falls on the consumer to some degree to stay protected.
Find the right bank for your needs, follow these tips for the best security, and keep reading our blog for our latest tips!