Financial Web Security

Financial Web Security: Keeping Your Accounts Safe

Internet banking and online financial transactions are both so convenient that it is hard to believe there was a time when these were not the standard. However, like many modern conveniences, making financial transactions online has its drawbacks. Chief among them is the increased risk of having your personal information exposed, your credit cards stolen, or even having your financial accounts hacked into.

The good news is that while there are many web security horror stories out there, most people aren’t big enough targets to attract the attention of serious hackers. Most of the attacks that happen daily are low-skill attacks that can be replicated in mass and have a low success rate. In essence, bad actors are looking for easy targets. Your primary concern when dealing with money online should be making sure you aren’t one such target, and these tips will help you with that.

Protecting your accounts

Many banking apps these days will force users to use some type of two-factor authentication, and that’s a very smart move. Two-factor authentication ensures that even if your passwords are compromised, your accounts won’t be. However, not all your financial platforms will have such strict security standards. Investment apps and platforms — especially smaller ones — are likely to not require two-factor authentication by default. Some don’t even offer the option at all.

That’s a problem, given that access to those accounts could allow a bad actor to cause serious financial damage. On top of that, hackers are always on the lookout for financial platforms and startups with lax security standards so they can prey upon their consumer base. And recent history has proven time and time again that big companies and startups will hide data breaches for the sake of PR, even if it means giving hackers more time to act on the data they’ve stolen.

The solution is to make sure two-factor authentication is enabled in all accounts that have access to your assets. And if two-factor authentication isn’t an option, use a password manager to make sure that platform or app has a unique password.

You can further protect your accounts by making sure the software on your devices is always updated and free of viruses. There are plenty of effective anti-virus tools out there; you don’t have to pay for one.

Protecting yourself

The human element is the weakest link in any security system. No one is too smart to fall for an online scam, but you can avoid most of them by keeping an eye out for red flags.

Email and instant messages should be your biggest concern. Messages from strangers are often a source of trouble, especially if said strangers come with amazing offers or claim to represent authorities. You can avoid most scams by fact-checking their claims. Asking to get on the phone with the other person also helps.

The good news is that if someone lies to get you to invest in something via email you may be able to recover some of your losses with the help of a California fraud attorney. Security laws still apply online, after all.

Another concern to keep in mind is phishing. Bad actors may not be looking to directly get money from you — they might be looking for sensitive information about you or your company. Do not disclose sensitive information or send documents via email unless you’re sure you know who is on the other side. If someone from the government wants information from you, they should have no reservations about getting on the phone with you or even agreeing to a video call.

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