Is online banking safe? With an ever-increasing number of cases being registered against data theft and malicious viruses, one can’t help but ask this question while conducting any online financial transaction. As computers and Internet have become an indispensable part of our personal and professional life, it is extremely important to understand how to use these services in a risk-free manner. This will help us to secure our data, from theft and illegal usage.
Newspapers and news channels report several cases related to banking frauds on a daily basis. Keeping all these factors in mind, banks have started investing in installing better computer security systems, as well as educating their clients about the proper and safe methods to carry out financial transactions online. Hence, it is critical to understand what are the precautionary measures being taken by the banks and how should we carry out all our financial transactions in a safe and secure manner.
What is Online Banking Security?
Every bank will have a section of their website dedicated to explaining the security measures that they have adopted, in order to ensure that the financial transactions being made by their clients are safe and secure. Most of the banking systems use direct-modem connections, due to which the transactions are not transmitted over the Internet. But, if you are performing an online transaction on your own, then it is advisable to make sure that your bank is using a high-end data encryption system. Encryption helps to scramble the data, so that only the receiver who it is intended for, receives the message.
For instance, a 128-bit standard encryption is so powerful that the US government is not allowing it to be sold overseas. Stealing personal information that is encrypted at such a high level is practically impossible. Most of the banks are in a process of installing these systems, in order to improve and update their security systems.
These security systems should be considered to be operating perfectly, only when they ensure that online transactions being conducted by individuals, are safe and secure. These services also feature PIN numbers and passwords that are unique in nature and are only known to the customer.
Safely Conducting Online Transactions
- Never use public terminals in shopping arcades or airports to conduct online banking transactions.
- The risk of data interception on a wireless connection is much higher – please ensure that you are aware of this. Make sure you undertake your Internet banking through a wireless connection, only if you are absolutely certain that the connection is secure.
- Make sure that your computer’s spyware and anti-virus programs are updated and it is advisable to perform regular system scans.
- Never access a banking site through a link. Instead, type out the address into the browser bar or you could also save the address as one of your ‘favorites’.
- Never open any other site when you are logged into the bank’s website. Make sure that there is only one window open.
- Choose your user ID and password carefully – it shouldn’t be easy for others to guess (like your name) and make sure you change them on a regular basis.
- Update your computer software regularly.
- Check for the padlock (that is an indication of a secure website) on the lower right hand side of the browser window.
- Once you are done with your Internet banking transactions, make sure you log out and close the browser window.
- Never give you password on the Internet (through emails) or over the phone to anyone (even if they identify themselves as banking authorities).
- Unless the bank in question verifies it, don’t ever trust a PDF payment proof, as these types of documents can be easily manipulated by frauds.
However, if you do run into any trouble with any of the online features of your account, you can seek help from your bank and will certainly get an immediate response. Most banks separate the online services completely from their person-to-person customer servicing, ensuring that your call is attended exclusively by their Internet-banking support team.
While there will always be concerns about the safety of online banking services, you can rest assured that banks themselves have set very high standards, when it comes to making their clients feel comfortable about the security systems being used. Although, it is true that nothing is one hundred percent foolproof in this world, these techniques are extremely robust when it comes to ensuring that your financial transactions are safe and secure.