Is Online Banking Secure?

Every year online banking becomes more widespread. According a recent survey by the American Bankers Association, two-thirds of Americans rely primarily on digital banking. As we move toward a cashless world, you may find yourself asking: Is all this really safe? It is a fair question, with security breaches often making headlines. No one wants their identity stolen and cash reserves drained. Fortunately, financial institutions go to great lengths to protect your money and data.

What banks do

There are many measures your bank takes to keep you safe. Devices are protected with software designed to block hackers and viruses. Websites are further fortified by encryption, which keeps unauthorized people from reading your data by recoding it into an indecipherable message. There is also the increasingly popular multi-factor authentication method for login pages. This system requires consumers to take multiple steps to access their accounts, such as entering an ever-changing passcode or using a fingerprint.

In addition to these extensive efforts, your bank also monitors your account for unusual activity. When you do your everyday spending, you leave a digital footprint. This is your regular pattern of behavior. When that is broken, it is a red flag that may mean someone has gotten ahold of your account. You should receive an alert and may have your account frozen to prevent illicit spending as the problem is being fixed.

What you should do

Cybersecurity for financial institutions is strong and getting better all the time. The bank is at the forefront of this mission, but it is a two-sided job. You – the customer – must take steps to protect yourself. If you do not practice safe online habits, you could expose yourself to unnecessary risks. Here are some helpful tips to ensure your security:

  • Do most (if not all) of your banking at home on a private network. If you must access your account in public, don’t used shared WiFi. Instead use cellular data or a VPN. Prying eyes may be able to steal your info on a shared network.
  • Monitor your accounts diligently. This means checking your balances and activity daily so you can catch any odd transactions or unauthorized charges.
  • Keep your software and devices up to date. You don’t want to miss out on advances in security.
  • Use a strong password that you change regularly. Include both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Enable multifactor authentication for an additional layer of security during login.
  • If you have kids at home, make sure they cannot easily access your bank account online.

Still wary about your online security? Contact Citizens National Bank today for more info on our security policies and how to stay safe online.