As our financial institutions offer us more robust digital platforms, we go online more frequently to complete our financial transactions. In fact, an overwhelming percentage of people say that online banking is their most common banking method.
It’s not just banking that we do on the Internet. From using shopping platforms like Amazon to paying people through digital merchants like PayPal to even buying stocks using investing apps like Robinhood, we conduct multiple financial transactions from the comfort of our homes thanks to modern technology.
Of course, that’s precisely why we need to take the appropriate steps to secure ourselves online with the following steps:
1Learn About Malware
It’s a good idea to arm yourself with the latest information about the tools hackers use to commit financial crimes. Here are some types of malicious software you should protect yourself from:
- Ransomware: Ransomware is an emerging malware that can stop you from accessing your computer and devices until you pay a fee to a threat actor on the Internet through an untraceable cryptocurrency.
- Spyware: This malware hides in your system and quietly records your information for a cybercriminal. Using your confidential information, the threat actor can carry out various financial crimes.
- Keylogger: A keylogger is a type of spyware that copies your keystrokes. Even the simplest keylogger can be threatening. Using a keylogger, an online thief can log into your bank account and quickly drain your bank account.
2Learn About Social Engineering Attacks
Basic Trojan horse and phishing expeditions are becoming less effective, with Internet users becoming wiser. For example, you probably avoid downloading suspicious software because you know it could be a malware-carrying Trojan horse attack. Likewise, you know how to recognize fraudulent emails from grammatical mistakes and formatting errors.
That’s why hackers are designing more sophisticated social engineering attacks based on your publicly available information on the Internet. For example, if you post on Facebook about flying to another country on vacation, a hacker may send a fake email from your airline or travel agent infected with spyware.
Read up on social engineering attacks to raise your awareness and shield yourself from financial crimes.
3Secure Your Systems
It’s a good idea to secure your computer and devices with proactive cybersecurity software with anti-malware capabilities that can remediate ransomware, spyware, and keyloggers. You may also want to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt your online data and mask your IP address.
Additionally, update your operating system regularly to plug security holes. You can set your PC or Mac to update your system automatically to make the task easier.
4Secure Your Accounts
It will help if you use passwords that are hard to guess and hack. The ideal password is at least 12 characters long and carries lower case letters, upper case letters, numbers, and symbols. It also lacks common words like ‘password.’
Enable two-factor authentication for an extra layer of protection. This feature ensures that even if a hacker has your password, they can’t break into your account.
5Monitor Your Accounts
Keep an eye on your financial accounts and report any suspicious activity immediately. Aside from your bank accounts, you should also check out your credit report. Remember, you can access a free credit bureau at least once a year from the major credit bureaus.
While securing your online finances can seem like a tedious task, it’s undoubtedly worthwhile with so much at stake. With the right information, practices, and cybersecurity software, you can use the Internet stress-free.