online banking

How to Protect Your Online Bank Account from Cyberthieves

untitledCyberthieves using an email virus have been raiding British bank accounts, so far stealing 20 million pounds, equivalent to about $31 million, the National Crime Agency disclosed. The virus, known as Dridex, Cridex or Bugat, invades users’ computers by appearing as a document attached to legitimate-looking emails. If users open the document, the virus installs malware that then records login and password details when the victim visits his or her bank’s website. The information gets passed back to the cyberthieves, who use the information to rob the victim’s bank account.

The announcement followed the indictment of one of the thieves in Pennsylvania, where U.S. authorities are cooperating with British and international agencies to disrupt the cybercrime ring, believed to be based in Eastern Europe. No matter where you live, cyberthieves are out there looking for your bank account information. Taking steps to safeguard your data can keep you from becoming their next victim.

Beware of Suspicious Messages & Software

Bank of America recommends several tips to protect yourself from malevolent phishing emails and social media messages such as those using the Dridex virus. Never respond to emails claiming to be urgent messages from financial institutions requesting account information. Forward suspicious emails to your financial provider’s security team. Don’t open attachments or install free software from unknown sources. Be cautious about clicking on links in social media messages that link to questionable sites, even if they seem to come from someone you know. When in doubt, don’t click.

Keep Your Software Security Updated

Keeping your software current provides another important line of security against attacks such as Dridex. Use the latest operating systems and browsers. Make sure you keep your operating system and browser updated with the latest security patches. Use a good antivirus program and set it to update and run scans frequently. Install a firewall for additional protection.

Guard Your Physical Security Environment

Protecting your physical environment is another part of keeping your online accounts safe. Don’t leave passwords lying around where others can see them. Watch out for “shoulder surfers” who try to look over your shoulder when you’re using an ATM machine or filling out a form. Some shoulder surfers use sophisticated methods such as binoculars, hidden cameras, and recording devices. You can read Lifelock’s blog to learn more about how to protect yourself from shoulder surfers.

Protect Your Devices

Your mobile devices represent another target for cyberthieves. The best protection is not storing your bank account information on your mobile device. Your bank may provide apps to help you use your mobile device safely without compromising your information. To protect other personal information that may be associated with your bank account, turn on your device’s screen lock option so that unauthorized users can’t access your data.

Don’t Connect to Insecure Wireless Networks

Connecting to an insecure wireless network is another way you can unknowingly expose information to cyberthieves. Don’t use public networks in high-traffic areas to access your bank account. Set your mobile device to ask your permission before connecting you to unfamiliar local networks. Make sure you’re using encryption.

Be Smart on Social Media

What you post on social media can expose you to cyberthieves. Avoid posting information such as birth dates, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.

Use Strong Passwords

Good password selection can help keep your accounts safe. Chose a password at least eight characters long that includes letters, numbers, and symbols. Don’t use your Social Security Number as part of your password. Don’t use the same password for your bank account that you use for social media or other sites. PC Magazine suggests using a password manager software program to help you generate strong passwords.

Monitor Your Accounts Regularly

Checking into your accounts frequently will help keep you alert to any suspicious activity. Signing up for automatic notifications from your financial provider will help you stay up-to-date on your account activity.

Log out When You’re Done

Whenever you end a session logging into your bank account, make sure to log out when you’re done. This will help stop session hijackers. Setting your browser to clear your cache when you close it will also help keep your data safe.

Managing Your Finances: Why Your Credit Rating Is So Important

In today’s digitized world, everything, including money, has been given the ability to be transported through electronic signals, going in and out of several computers, before finally landing, hopefully, in the right hands. In the last decade, the use of credit cards has been steadily on the rise. With people constantly now purchasing with credit cards, it is important to keep your finances under good management. It is easily just as important to keep track of your credit scores and make sure that they are in check.

A few years ago, many people would find constantly managing their finances quite a hassle. This would be due to the fact that to constantly keep an eye on your finances, one would also have to constantly make several trips to their respective banks. This makes it very hard for people whose daily schedules are constantly kept full by other appointments to make regular trips to their banks. This is why many people have turned to doing their banking online.

"Credit rating" handwritten with white chalk on a blackboardManaging finances

The convenience of online banking when managing finances makes even the most frequent online shoppers better at managing their finances. With the convenience that the service provides, the fact that it allows users to check their financial information as often as they want allows individuals to practice their skills in record keeping.Having 24/7 access to records can make it easier for you to keep track of your spending as well as spot errors on transaction records. It also enables you to secure a better credit score, allowing you to make more purchases using your credit cards.

You and your credit score

Your bank keeps careful track of your transaction records, so why shouldn’t you? Keeping track of one’s finances is crucial to maintaining a good credit score. When you use your credit card, you’re essentially borrowing money. Your credit score is determined based on five factors: your previous credit performance, the current level of your indebtedness, the length of time your credit card has been in use, the types of credit available to you, and your pursuit of new credit.

Your credit rating is most affected by how well you handle your debt by paying it off. To boost your credit rating, you should be able to pay off your debts quickly, maintain low levels of indebtedness, and refrain from applying for additional credit constantly.

Importance of your credit rating

When you apply for a utility, mortgage, or loan, the lender will check your credit rating. Depending on your rating, the lender will resolve what risk you pose to them. If you have a poor credit rating, lenders may not shun you entirely but lend you money at a higher rate instead. Therefore, if you are planning to use your credit for a major investment in the future, it’s important to achieve a good credit rating now.

Make you loan paymentson time and for the right amount through online banking to avoid getting in debt and into potential trouble. If you have an outstanding debt, keep it as low as you can and never ignore overdue bills. Pay attention to and improve your credit score to make sure you’re always in good financial health.

Should students consider applying for a current account?

For many university students, this will be the first time in their lives that they need to take control of their finances, budget properly and make sure that things are paid on time. A current account is essential for tracking your money and taking proper control of where it is and where it’s going.

There are many specialist student current accounts available, and these can have many advantages. Some offer benefits on joining, such as reduced phone or travel insurance, and nearly all offer an interest free overdraft throughout your time as a student at university (and often for a period of time after you have graduated).

Current AccountThe overdraft can be particularly useful for a student, as often loan payments are made three times a year. This means that until budgeting has been properly mastered, and as books and other materials often need to be purchased in bulk at the beginning of each term, there is the planned overdraft to fall back on without the stress and worry of racking up hefty fees and charges. In a time where the main focus is on study, exams and getting coursework handed in on time, money worries are just too much extra, unnecessary stress. Many worry about the access to the interest free overdraft and that it will get them into debt, but if this is a serious concern for you, it is a good idea to ask your bank to set it at a minimal amount to be used for emergencies only.

A current account will also be essential for bill payments (especially if living in a shared house rather than halls of residence) such as electric, gas, water, mobile phone, TV licence etc., as a lot of companies require you to pay by direct debit. Current accounts can definitely make things easier to manage, as with online banking you can see all of your regular payments in one place.

If you are going to be working part time during your time at university, a bank account is usually the preferred method of payment by employers (although other methods are available, albeit not commonly used). Similarly, if your parents or other family members wish to help you out financially at any point during the term, a current account is incredibly useful for making sure the money gets to you as quickly, safely and conveniently as possible. Transferring money between accounts in the same country is readily available through online banking with little hassle.

Current accounts allow you to access your money much more easily, especially with online banking, which allows you to keep track of your expenditures and see exactly how much you have left at any given time. As previously mentioned, it is easy with online banking to make transfers into other accounts (your own, or those of others if you need to) and you can feel safe in the knowledge that ATMs are widely available if you need the physical cash in your wallet.

In summary, yes, students should definitely consider applying for available current accounts packages, as there are so many advantages to having one.


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