Secure Banking on the Internet

by admin on October 9, 2009

How can I protect my identity from theft on the Internet?
Keeping your personal information confidential is your best safeguard on the Internet. Most computer network break-ins rely on commonplace deceptions or theft, not advanced technology. Simple precautions are essential:
Tell no one your password or other confidential information unless you are sure of their identity. Hackers sometimes impersonate technical support workers or others over the phone to obtain private information
Keep your password out of plain sight in your work area
Select a password that is hard to guess; avoid social security numbers, birthdates, PINs, or other obvious choices
Good passwords are unique. Try using capitalization, non-letter characters, and other symbols with significance only to you. Instead of “carrot,” for example, use “caRrOt8.” Also, be sure to change your password periodically.

Keep in mind that once someone has access to your account number and PIN, they have access to your money and personal financial information.

How should I protect my computer from intrusion?
Both at home and the office, you should be aware of all those who have access to your files. Your computer should be physically secure, where unauthorized users cannot access it without your permission.
You should also avoid keeping open connections to cable networks or phone lines – your machine could be accessed without your knowledge.

Make sure your browser supports secure transactions using up-to-date security features like encryption
Take advantage of security and virus protection software that protects your computer from intrusion
Use log-on passwords, screen saver passwords, or other devices to prevent someone from using your computer when you are not there
When you walk away from your PC, turn it off, or turn on the screensaver password feature
If your computer is accessible to others, consider using encryption software for confidential files
Most operating system software has built-in security features, but you may wish to consider purchasing additional virus protection, encryption, and personal firewall software to better protect your computer and data.

How do I know my Internet service provider is secure?
Most people use a modem and analog telephone line to log on to an Internet service provider. The provider then accesses the Internet. Commonly you click on a desktop icon to access the provider’s Internet account, then type in your user ID and password. The software may permit you to store your user ID and password so that you do not have to type it in each time. Be aware that stored passwords and IDs can be copied from your computer.
Contact your Internet service provider to find out if they use encryption to store and transmit confirmation of your user ID and password-and if the ID and password are stored on your computer. High-bandwidth access providers like DSL and cable can place your computer in an “always on” state that is accessible to hackers.

Consider using personal firewall and anti-virus software, and turning your computer off when it is not in use.

How do I know if my bank is secure?
Most bank Web sites offer a “frequently asked questions” section that describes their security practices. Also, ask your bank if it requires special software to use its site, like Internet browsers that support encryption. Learn how to take advantage of your bank’s particular security options.
Reference: Federal Reserve Bank

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