In this digital age, online security is a major concern. Whilst at one point online frauds appeared to exist largely in Hollywood creations surrounding corporate espionage, they have become increasingly prevalent. Hacking has evolved from corporate espionage and intergovernmental spying to personal finances.
As hackers continue to extend their reach, online security firms have responded with products and protocols to secure your financial information. However, there are practical steps you can take to contribute to the safety of your financial information. Do not aid the hackers by your complacency.
1. Employ Strong and Diversified Passwords
This is a basic but often overlooked aspect of online security. Many individuals choose passwords that are easy for them to remember forgetting to factor in the ease of hacking. Most financial institutions have tools that asses the strength of new passwords to help clients secure their accounts. Please comply with them and learn how to design passwords that are secure using symbols, numbers and letters from both lower and upper cases.
Additionally, ensure that you use different passwords for different online platforms. This has the benefit of isolating any breach in security to the individual affected account.
2. Use Secure Networks
Most hackers gain access to online accounts primarily through unsecure networks. Limiting the access to financial information to secure networks such as at work or at home will go a long way to ensuring security. To enhance security, use official company apps when away from the safety of a secure network.
One of the most popular approaches adopted by hackers to access financial information is through phishing. Here, an apparently authentic and innocuous email is sent to you from a financial company asking for some information. The provision of such information allows the hacker to reconstruct your online profile, hack your passwords and access your account.
To guard against this, simply ignore any unsolicited emails. Additionally, only provide such information in person or through the official websites and apps as previously known to you. Confirm any such requests via phone calls to the company.
4. Activity alerts
Most financial institutions have an alert system that notifies the account holder on the occurrence of any transactions. Such notification is instantaneous through text messages, emails or both. Ensure you have activated this feature on all your accounts and do not set a high limit for the notifications.
5. Adopt a Two-Factor Authentication System
A two-factor authentication system confirms the identity of the user through two different components. Most financial institutions rely on your password as well as an authentication code sent to your phone or email. Some companies issue their clients with random password generators that provide this secondary authentication every time you require access.
Whilst hackers continue to target innocent individuals with complex frauds, we are not defenseless. Simple protocols and vigilance on your part can go a long way in securing your financial information. Ensure that you have strong passwords and a secure network by default. Pay attention to any unusual emails and activities with your online information. These safeguards, while comparatively simple, are nevertheless very effective.