Online banking is, for many of us, a part of our day-to-day lives, but concerns over cyber security and a rise in online scams have left many of us asking just how safe is our hard-earned cash?
Latest figures, released as part of the National Crime Survey, have revealed a 15% year-on-year increase in fraud incidents. Bank and credit account fraud accounted for the majority of that rise, rising by 17% from 2.3m to 2.7m offences. The number of fraud offences referred to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau also rose by 16%, increasing from 638,069 in 2018 to 740,845 in 2019.
So, with online banking giving digital-savvy criminals a new channel to exploit, what can you do to keep your savings safe?
Dave Wickham, head of IT at Redwood Bank – a pioneering Business Bank that was ‘born in the cloud’ and is committed to cyber security – gives his top tips for ensuring your money stays out of reach of online opportunists.
Choose a strong password! This should be different from other passwords you use and not personally identifiable. The guidance from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is to use three random words. Try to incorporate uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols to add complexity. For more details see: www.ncsc.gov.uk/collection/top-tips-for-staying-secure-online/use-a-strong-and-separate-password-for-email
Keep your devices up to date with the latest software patches – you will often receive a prompt on your computer, smartphone or tablet to inform you that software or an app is ready to be updated. Don’t ignore this message. Also ensure your device has Anti-Virus installed and is kept up to date. This can help protect you from nasty websites, emails and software which could attempt to steal your data.
Where available use two-factor authentication (2FA)/Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), including on your personal email accounts where possible. 2FA/MFA requires you to perform an extra check before allowing access to your account, this means even if your password is compromised, your account stays safe.
Be careful what you click on! A very common attempt to gain credentials is to trick you into clicking a link or downloading a program that contains malware. If you aren’t expecting the email or are unsure in any way, then exercise caution. Consider contacting the sender to ascertain whether it was genuine.
Access your accounts from a secure network wherever possible. Free and public Wi-Fi networks are often not encrypted and therefore unsecure, which means it’s easier for a hacker to access your device or information. Always ensure the website you are logging in to has “https” at the beginning and has a padlock in the URL to show it’s secure.
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