Security Risks with Online Banking

by Justin Weinger on June 13, 2012

Many people now conduct their banking business online and open online banking accounts. Banks have continuously assured customers that doing so is completely safe and that accounts are protected with sophisticated encrypted security features that prevent hackers from gaining access.

With these safety features in place many customers have switched over to online banking because of the convenience it provides.

Most bills can now be paid online and take only a few minutes to complete. Lulled by a false sense of security, many individuals don’t think twice about conducting their business and personal banking online.

It is easy to conduct money transactions online at websites such as MoneySupermarket.com. There have, however, been some disturbing incidents in the last few years that have made it necessary to be more vigilant when it comes to online banking activity.

Small business owners have to be especially careful if they keep their money in online accounts. The cash in business bank accounts tends to be larger than in personal bank accounts.

Commercial account holders cannot count on banks to cover losses if money is stolen from their accounts. This type of protection is only provided to individual account holders.

When banks are notified of hacked accounts and stolen money they make an effort to track the money and recover the amounts stolen. This is not always successful and some business owners have incurred large losses.

Many of the criminals attacking and hacking into accounts come from eastern European countries and the money is funneled into foreign banks that are not always cooperative.

Preventing hackers from getting into your account

One of the only ways of being certain that there is no chance of theft from an online account is to close the account and use traditional banking instead. This is not very convenient for many people.

Indeed, many banks actively encourage online banking since this means they have to employ fewer people. Short of closing an existing online account, there are a few measures that can be taken to help prevent theft.

One of the first lines of defense is to frequently change the account password and keep it in a secure place at home, not in a file on the computer. Installing the best anti-virus software available is another important step.

Most accounts are hacked into, not through the banking website, but through the account holder’s home computer. Criminals use Trojan viruses to infiltrate computers and track down passwords and account names in order to get into bank accounts.

Anti-virus software prevents Trojan viruses from infiltrating personal computers. It is also a good idea to do a virus scan of the entire computer to make sure nothing has gotten by the first line of defense.

Never opening attachments on emails unless they are from a trusted source is one of the best ways to prevent viruses from infecting your computer. Sometimes hackers have taken over popular websites and as soon as anyone lands on the home page, the person is taken to another website infected with a virus.

In effect, the computer has been hijacked and unless adequate protection is in place, there is not much that can be done to prevent this. When computers have been infected by a virus, hackers can easily get security passwords for websites. Viruses can decipher password codes when infected computers visit online banking websites.

Frequently changing your bank password and monitoring your account for suspicious activity, as well as keeping up to date with anti-virus software, is one of the best ways to prevent theft from your banking account.

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