Online Banking:Use With Care

Security Burgler Hand on SafeOnline banking comes in a couple of flavors; wired and wireless. The wired method involves using a financial institution’s Internet webpage accessed with a computer that is connected to the Internet via a cable or other provider through a receptacle in your home. The wireless method is similar, but the access to the bank’s Internet webpage is through the use of cell phone technology.

The wired method is much safer than the wireless method for several reasons. It involves using a home computer that is protected with updated anti-malware software and, being “wired”, it’s not vulnerable to be monitored through wireless sniffer technology. Hackers can monitor your wireless computer usage with a laptop from a parked car near your house. They use “sniffer” hardware and software to capture your keystrokes as they are transmitted to your wireless router in the next room. See Electronic Banking: Do You Do It Safely?

The U.S. Banking Industry recommends that online banking transactions only be attempted on a wired computer that is not used for any other purpose, especially other Internet use. This is to ensure the computer is not infected with banking malware, usually obtained by visiting malicious websites during normal Internet use.

A relatively new form of online banking is the use of smartphone devices to complete a financial transaction. I vehemently oppose this type of online banking for two reasons. First, smartphones, especially Android-based devices, are known to be compromised by banking malware, usually obtained through infected software apps downloaded from the Google Play app store and other sources. And second, because the transactions can be sniffed by cyber criminals as stated above.

A recent article on New Tech City Blog reports that the banking industry is poised to go one step farther and start offering online banking on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Why, you might ask, would they even consider using social media to offer online banking? The same social media who have a “sharing”, security-adverse culture. The same social media who have a reckless disregard for their customers’ privacy. Because, according to “Mark Schwanhausser, an analyst with Javelin Strategy and Research, who studies the ways banks are (or aren’t) using new technologies.”: What we know about Americans is they like choice. If you give them another choice, somebody’s going to take you up on it. And if there are enough people taking you up on it, banks are going to jump on it (too). Social media is too big to ignore. There are too many people walking around with Facebook, twitter, et cetera, monitoring that stuff all day long without banks saying, ‘Are we missing something? Are we not listening to the conversation? Should we be there?’ And the answer is yes they should.”

So, in the name of commerce, competition, and ultimately, profit; the banks will offer social media based online banking. These, and that “Americans…like choice.” are absolutely ridiculous reasons to put online banking customers’ money and identity at peril. Absolutely ridiculous!

It is therefore left up to us, banking customers, to make online banking choices that are safe and ignore the ones that are not. So, we consumers must once again put on our big girl and big boy pants and do the right thing for our own well-being and ignore the marketing hype that we should do otherwise. Good luck with that.

Reference: New Tech City article

Be very careful…it’s dangerous out there.

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Filed under Cybercrime, Facebook, Google, Internet Security, malware

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