How many people use the Internet these days? According to Google, a total of 5.03 billion users globally browse and communicate online. Naturally, with the widespread use of technology and the web, many businesses and services move to the digital scene, making their services more up-to-speed to today’s user’s needs.
Banking isn’t an exception as well, especially when it comes to the Fintech industry. Due to the constant use of technology and smartphone devices during the global pandemic, banks adapted and accelerated the transition to the online world. With the connectivity and large amounts of data that all e-services hold come certain security risks, especially where large sums of money flow around.
It’s no secret that instead of the old-school bank robbing method, today’s criminals prefer hacking and stealing banking information to get ahold of funds illegally. To prevent such a devastating scenario and safeguard your cash, read the article and learn the latest tips regarding banking security.
How do Criminals Target Victims to Steal Baking Data?
Your personal details are a gold mine for hackers. Both consumers and banking companies should work towards security together. Money institutions stick to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations and ensure strict security policies to guarantee customers’ safety. For example, online banking and companies from other sectors scan their partners and third-party vendors against multiple databases using special automated Business verification tools. This way, they prevent becoming a money laundering channel or partnering with a shady entity.
Digital banking is only fully secure if the banking technology on end meets with risk-aware customers on the front end. Consequently, account holders have their responsibility in the security chain to ensure that the data is protected at their end. That’s because criminals target everyone, from small businesses to large-scale enterprises. Huge fines and massive data breaches make the headlines but let’s not forget that hackers also spend their time targeting smaller fish in the sea. Bad actors target users directly by trying to succeed with various scams and go unsuspected.
Here are the most popular techniques to steal banking data and other personal information:
Believe it or not, the concept of phishing goes back to the mid-1990s. The slang to catch fish and leave bait is compared to victims that are fooled by scammers’ phishing schemes. That said, these fraudulent messages can be sent through different channels, such as email, texts, or phone calls. Most modern phishing attacks are conducted via email.
Usually, the attacker poses as a legitimate company and sends generic messages after registering a fake domain that is very similar to the genuine organization. For instance, let’s say that instead of the real deal, which is ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’, you receive an email from ‘email@example.com’ asking you to enter your card number and password; you should not respond. In some more sophisticated cases, bad actors purchase domains that include authentic names of the organizations in the URLs.
In general, more customers are aware of such risks and know exactly how to respond to phishing; therefore, online criminals are searching for new, more complex phishing techniques. One of them is QR code phishing. Instead of a classic button to redirect the victim to another phishing site, the criminal can use a QR code. That means such emails do not include clear-text URLs, which makes them hard to detect for automatic software.
As discussed with phishing, many fake banking apps are made to look like legitimate money institutions. Android allows users to download apps from third-party providers. Even though Google warns not to proceed further with such dangerous apps, people get tricked into downloading malicious apps that are infected with malware. In this case, the user can receive a remote access trojan designed to steal personal information
That said, there are various types of malicious code. There’s a type of malware that records your behavioral biometrics, or in other words, keystrokes. In this case, your credit card data can get breached easily since many users type their card details online and use e-commerce websites. There’s also Drive-by-download malware, which automatically installs after you visit a compromised website. For this reason, even if it sounds cliche, but think before you click is the golden rule for keeping your data safe and sound.
On that note, if you see any messages suggesting that there’s a technical issue regarding your bank account, don’t be too quick to type in your card details or your SSN. Unfortunately, if you receive an email saying that you’ve one a million, newsflash, it’s a scam. If you reply or give out any personal data, criminals could turn it against you by making illegal purchases and emptying your bank account.
Fintech is Booming – But is it Secure?
At the moment, the Fintech market is worth millions of dollars. Experts say that it won’t stop any time soon, as the industry is expected to grow to an even bigger extent due to technology and its capabilities. Artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms automate many processes that were previously done manually in the traditional banking sector. That’s why today’s Fintech players can win against standard banks mainly because they are:
Accessible. Since the services are provided online, anyone can register by easily downloading an app. There’s no need for brokers or any other managers.
Cheaper. There are fewer employees and more automated internal processes, which allows Fintech companies to save funds, at the same time, maintain a high productivity and efficiency rate.
Efficient. The Fintech industry provides innovative solutions that come with faster operations and smoother processes. Automated AI-powered tools speed up data reviewing and help ensure security without involving human error.
All in all, regulations and specific laws require Fintech and online banking institutions to safeguard their customers. Having that in mind, as a customer, you need to choose a company that is known for high, industry-appropriate security. Always take a look at the website of your online bank. Ask the support team about encryption and what the bank does to protect you. Choose another service provider if there’s no sign of a proper data security policy. To put it simply, there’s no shame in taking part in managing your own data and finances.
Easy Steps to Upgrade Your Security
First of all, you need to choose a safe online bank. For it to be secure, the bank needs to follow strict security protocols and have an effective fraud prevention system. Certain signs show the bank’s security level. If the institution has data encryption, uses digital identity verification, and is known for its continuous account monitoring, that means your data will be protected, and the chances of data breaches are very minimal.
Since we can access our banks anywhere now, proper cybersecurity hygiene is vital. There are common security measures that apply to banking that have been tested and approved for as long as we remember. For instance, using an anti-virus system on all of your devices and creating strong, original passwords set the grounds for a robust security routine.
Take a look into other quick and simple ways to protect your banking information:
Avoid Public WiFi
Public WiFi networks are the number one hone for malware. It’s a known fact that public network doesn’t provide you with any security guarantees because you don’t know who’s behind it. Use your network at home when dealing with sensitive data or accessing important services, especially your bank. If that’s not an option, make sure to use a virtual private network (VPN) or a cellular data plan. Also, don’t forget to check the web pages that you visit. If the address starts with ‘HTTPS’, that’s a good sign since the ‘s’ stands for secure.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor or two-factor authentication (2FA) is vital because it adds another layer of security to your accounts without putting in much effort. Some banks have biometric authentication where users are asked to complete a special ID verification check before they log in to their banking accounts. Certain types of two-factor authentication use biometric data as well, like a person’s face. Another form of 2FA can be implemented through SMS codes. This makes it hard for hackers to pass the second security layer and steal data.
Any online banking service is more convenient than waiting for cash in a long ATM line. But the perks of digital services come along with a price. There’s always a risk of cybercrime in the digital sphere; therefore, as a user, you must learn how to manage your finances safely by sticking to a proper digital security regime. Changing your passwords regularly, using multi-factor authentication methods, monitoring your balance, and avoiding phishing traps will help you enjoy the perks of speedy, accessible, and generally secure banking services.