1. Mobile banking: How to safeguard against data theft; 4 noteworthy points

Mobile banking: How to safeguard against data theft; 4 noteworthy points

While banks can only make one side of the transaction safe, consumers also need to take measures against data thefts. Here are a few tips that can be followed to keep your financial transactions safe.

By: | Updated: October 25, 2016 6:26 PM

Banks have been quick to adopt technology to make banking hassle-free and convenient, but security has remained a concern for customers. Though the industry has come a long way in terms of security, using features like two-factor authentication and one-time passwords for transactions, hackers have found new ways to extract confidential information. The recent data breach, which led to over 32 lakh debit cards being compromised due to a malware, shows that banks need to constantly upgrade their technology to safeguard against data breaches.

While banks can only make one side of the transaction safe, consumers also need to take measures against data thefts. With people transacting via mobile wallets and UPI on shopping websites, it is important to keep transactions secure. Although people are mostly aware of card skimmers and the perils of sharing account information over the phone, what they don’t realise is that their mobile phone can be the weakest link in data security. With most transactions being done over a smartphone or tablets via use of apps, the phone becomes the first point of attack for hackers.

Here are a few tips that can be followed to keep your financial transactions safe.

Avoid public wi-fi for transactions

Connecting to public wi-fi can leave your phone or tablet open to malware and virus attacks, which allows others to snoop on your phone and extract information. Though most browsers come equipped with some safety features, they are not as strong when it comes to making transactions over public wi-fi networks.

Install anti-virus

Most people have an anti-virus on their desktops or laptops, but mobile phones are left on their own to ward off these attacks. With more transactions occurring via a smartphone, it is important to have an anti-virus app which also gives anti-spyware and anti-malware protection. There are enough paid and free options to choose from; some well-known ones are 360 Security, Avira, AVG, Norton, Kaspersky and Eset. But if you are getting pop-ups on websites prompting that your phone has a virus and may be slowing down, it is better to first backup and reset your phone and then download one of these apps, as your phone may already be infected with a malware.

Keep your passwords safe

Passwords also need to be kept safe from hacking attempts. Usually people keep a single password for all their accounts, ranging from banking to social media. While this is easier to remember, hackers can hack into one social media or channel and then make their way to your bank account. Password manager apps such as LastPass, Dashlane, TrueKey and KeePassX can make it simple to remember passwords.

Bet on virtual

Remember those pesky virtual keyboards when you log into your netbanking account? While they are a tad difficult to use, they are here for your safety. Machines at cyber cafes may have a key-logger which tracks information for each keystroke, making it easier for hackers to decode passwords. While virtual keyboards eliminate that problem, the keyboard with jumbled up characters makes it difficult to ascertain what keys you clicked on.

While all these are important steps, if you open attachments on mails that say you have won something or if you share bank information for getting that money wired, then these can’t protect you from getting hacked or losing your money. For all that you may have won is being the target of a scam or a hack.

When your money is at risk

* Avoid public wi-fi for transactions to prevent malware and virus attacks
* Install an antivirus app which gives anti-spyware and anti-malware protection
* Do not keep a single password for all accounts, from banking to social media. Use password manager apps instead
* Use virtual keyboards when using internet banking
* Never share banking information on mail or open any mail that says you have won money. You may be target of a scam

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