How Secure Is Internet Banking?

Information verified correct on September 29th, 2016

As consumers who spend massive amounts of time at work and in front of our computers we want to know about our Internet banking security when we do our online banking to save time.

While generation X is just about borderline when it comes to trusting their banking needs to the Internet, most Baby Boomers don’t. Having grown up with nothing else but the real thing – namely bank branches at their disposal, their ability or lack thereof in trusting Internet banking is pretty much non existent.

What banks do to guarantee our Internet banking security

All banks differ in the ways they do business, each of them tries to make us feel safe and welcome when we consider switching to online banking. They talk about multi-level encryption and other fancy protection methods most people don’t have a clue about what they mean. They just sound good.

Fact is that cyber crime is on the rise. Back in 2004 online banking fraud was around $25 million per year. Today, chances are those figures have risen despite the bank’s consistent fight against cyber crime. The biggest question for us of course is: ‘what can we do to avoid being the next victim?’

Online phishing – watch out

By far the easiest way for cyber thieves to steal your money or your identity is by phishing. What these criminals do is to create a website and email campaign that looks just like the original and then blast it out to millions of online database registrants.

Because most people have no clue, when asked to click on an email link they do and poof, there goes your money and your identity.

How to protect yourself against phishing attempts: NEVER, EVER click on any link in an email that states your account has been shut down, hacked or stolen. If you believe this to be the case, open up a new web browser instead and type the address of the institution by hand. Do NOT under any circumstances type the address given in the email as this is not the original.

Banks will never send you an email if there are issues. Neither will other money related businesses. Instead they will call you or send you a letter.

Consumer protection

According to the Australian consumer protection of the Electronic Funds Transfer Code, banks legally have to cover any cost of abuse made to you over the Internet. Monitored by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the law works in your favour granted you are not to blame for negligence.

Viruses, Spyware, Hackers and Firewall protection

These are other potential nightmares, even if your bank uses high levels of encryption. If your computer is infected with spyware then you increase the chances of getting your account hacked.

We can’t stress enough the importance of a good overall Internet security suite. If you visit the Panda Internet Security website you will see their Internet Security Suite covers everything you need to sleep well at night.

As long as you bank on a safe computer – one which is updated and monitored at all times with a good virus, spyware and firewall protection program you should be fine. Once you’ve logged out of your online account always close the browser and clear cookies as an added level of protection.

Keep your personal details safe

The last bit to remember if you want Internet banking security is to make sure your personal records; passwords, login details and such are always kept safe from prying eyes.

Despite its downfalls Internet banking security is possible with some knowledge, preparation and common sense.

Stay Smart Online is an Australian government website which provides information and advice on how to secure your computer and your transactions online.

  • ANZ Internet Banking – Details about the ANZ Internet banking system.
  • Commbank Internet Banking – Details about the Commbank Internet banking system.
  • Bankwest Internet Banking – Details about the Bankwest Online Banking website
  • St.George Internet Banking – Overview of the St.George online banking website
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