If you don’t transact business with your bank online—and never plan to…don’t waste your time reading this article. However, if you check your savings or checking account balance, pay bills, or apply for a loan online…keep reading.
Warning! Safe online banking may cost you some money. And you will probably need to change some ways you use computers in your home. If you’re still with me…keep reading.
- You must use a dedicated computer for your online banking. One that’s not used for anything else. Especially surfing the Internet. You see, the best and most probable way to become infected with a banking-related malware such as ZeuS, is to visit a site that will inject itself onto your computer with the sole goal in life of draining your savings, checking, and credit card accounts. Once on your computer, ZeuS and other malware have the ability to transfer funds from your accounts instantly and without your knowledge. This dedicated computer could be an old one that’s sitting in the closet, or it could be your current desktop, sitting in the spare bedroom, that you don’t use very much now that you have your wireless laptop to use in the den. Or…worst case is that you buy a new computer to use to surf the net—you’ve probably had your eye on a new one anyway. Spending money on a new computer in order to have one dedicated electronic banking is like taking out an insurance policy. The amount to purchase the new machine is going to be a small price to pay compared to losing all your available funds in your bank accounts…you get the picture.
- Dedicated means dedicated!! Don’t let your spouse or your children use it to surf the net; or for anything else, for that matter. It should be used only for online banking—period.
Here are some additional tips from SANS.org that should also help keep your online banking safer.
Safe eBanking Tips
By the way, if you suspect your bank account has been compromised or spot any activity you have not authorized, follow these guidelines from the Federal Trade Commission:
– Notify your bank and credit card companies immediately
– Close all affected accounts
– Notify the major credit reporting agencies
– File a report with the Federal Trade Commission
– File a report with the police
The existence of malware like ZeuS that will relieve you of your hard-earned money is real. In fact, organized cybercrime groups have begun selling this type of malware to any crook with a few hundred dollars. That means there will be more instances of ZeuS on the Internet…and greater possibility of infection. Do whatever is necessary to protect yourself, including coming up with a dedicated online banking computer…it’s worth it.
Be very careful…it’s dangerous out there.
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Remember, home computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.