The launch of the automatic teller machine (ATM) heralded a new era of banking convenience in Australia. Fast-forward several decades and the internet has given us a level of access to our funds that was once unimaginable.
But while internet banking delivers a convenience most Aussies would now struggle to live without, it’s vital to protect your personal identity and hard-earned savings from cyber criminals keen to pick your pocket online. This week’s headlines about the twitter and youtube accounts of the US military command being hacked, offer a pertinent reminder about the threat of hackers.
Here are some tips from Ty Miller, IT security expert and CEO of Threat Intelligence, to help ensure it doesn’t happen to you.
No middle names or birthdates
Your first line of defence should be a hard-to-hack password. Don’t use the same one for social media sites and banking, and when you’re choosing, make it a good one. Think at least 13 characters, with a mix of upper and lower-case letters, at least one number and no easily guessed word associations.“Avoid your own name or any version of it, your pet’s name and certainly try to avoid real words,” Miller says. “If you really can’t think of one, use an online password generator to help you.”
Secure your network
Want to use your phone to check your account balance or make a payment while you’re out and about? Proceed with caution, Miller says.
“Public Wi-Fi networks aren’t secure, and anyone within range can eavesdrop into what you’re doing. If you have to take care of money matters online and across a public Wi-Fi network, log out of your account. Just closing down the browser is not safe enough.”
Beware of imposters
Happened upon a site that’s asked you for your personal and banking details so you can make a payment for what looks like a great deal?
Think twice before filling in the blank fields.
“If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. These phishing sites are just that – fishing for your personal information so they can gain access to your bank accounts and start making payments for themselves.
“Don’t click through from emails asking you to update your password or your account will be suspended, and always make sure it’s your own web search that takes you to a site rather than relying on cyber criminals to direct you.”
For internet banking it is important to come up with a unique password just for that account. There are a range of password manager apps and programs available that can generate passwords for you such as LastPass and KeePass. Password managers generate strong passwords for you and store them in one account, so you only have to remember one password to log in.
Most websites require you to use letters, numbers and symbols and this is for good reason. Swapping letters in words with numbers and symbols makes your password strong. It would only take three minutes to crack an eight character lower case word, but according to research into password hacking, it would take 15 million years to crack a 12 character password that included upper case letters, symbols and numbers.“It’s worth spending a little on software to reduce the chances of your internet browsing sessions being compromised.
It’s worth spending a little on software to reduce the chances of your internet browsing sessions being compromised. Professional malware and antivirus packages can protect you from hackers, while keeping your browser up to date will ensure they’re not a step ahead of you online.
Two step authentication
RaboDirect have the Digipass. It is a small handheld device that randomly generates a number that is needed as part of your log in process, along with your personal account number and PIN. This security approach uses two factor authentication to access your online banking. The physical Digipass is something only you have, so even if your account number and PIN information is stolen no one can log in without using the Digipass. The Mobile Banking App has the Digipass built in, so once set up, you won’t need to carry Digipass with you.
Unfortunately, internet scams are alive and well, but don’t give these hackers and scammers an opportunity to steal from you. Being smart and savvy about online security will keep you one step ahead and protected.