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Internet Banking Safety

5 Nov 2009: This page was created over a year ago.  Most of the information will prove helpful, but you must learn all you can to protect your banking while online. Find out if your bank has any added safety features you can use for online banking. Make sure that your Windows updates are current and that you are using a good, up-to-date Anti-Virus Program.  Also choose a good password and change it often

 

Using the internet for banking is a great convenience. The ease at which you can move money could allow you to park surplus dollars into an interest earning or mortgage account. Internet banking can also save you money on some transaction fees.

As with most things using the internet for your banking is a two edged sword. On the one hand it makes life simplier. On the other hand, there are some real dangers. Read on and learn how to help protect your assets when banking online.

We checked the websites of 4 Australian banks to see what safety suggestions they offered. We were happy to see that 3 of the banks offered levels of safety that went beyond suggestions for firewalls, anti-virus, and anti-spyware programs. The banks we looked at were ANZ Bank, Bank of Queensland, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank. 

Suggestions Common to All Banks

Always enter the website by typing the banks web address into the address bar.

Don't click on a link from another website or from an email. If you want to go to the Bank of Dreamland type the address in your browser. Don't click on a www.bankofdreamland.com. The sender of the email or author of the webpage can create a link that sends you to a phishing site.

Your Password

Your password is just like the PIN for your ATM card. A bad guy could use it to take money from your account. It should always be kept confidential. You should never reveal it to anyone. You should never write it down. You should change it often. Use a strong password, If possible it should be a combination of numbers, letters and symbols. It should never be a persons name, a birthday or a word that is in the dictionary. 

Your Computer

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Keep your Operating System (windows) up to date.

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Keep your web browser up to date.

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Install, update, and run Anti-virus and Anti-spyware software.

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Install and use a firewall.

Your Computing Habits

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Do not open emails from unknown sources.

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Do not open attachments from unknown sources.

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Do not click on links to your bank. Always type the banks address into your browser's address bar.

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Before entering banking information check that you are on a secure web page. The address should start with https:// (instead of the standard http://). There will be a padlock icon, either on the bottom right of the window or to the right of the web address. You can also check (online) your banks certificate. Your banks webpage will show you how to find and check this certificate.

Unauthorized Transaction

The banks offer certain guarantees of security. If there is an unauthorized transaction you may not be responsible. Check with your bank and read the agreement so you understand your rights and responsibilities. 

The Australian Government, ASIC, has information on your rights involving unauthorized transactions. It also offers tips on safe internet banking. The website changes often so you'll have to look around.  www.fido.asic.gov.au 

Additional Security Features

Besides the normal password feature some banks offer extra features. They may add some time to the procedure, but the added security is worth it. Banks are always improving these features so checking with your bank is a good idea. On 24 October 2007 the following were available. 

ANZ:( www.anz.com.au )

Currently no extra features

Bank of Queensland: (www.boq.com.au)

Security Token: a small electronic device that delivers a one-off code.  You will have to enter the code generated by the device along with your password. This is only available for larger transactions. Check with the bank.

Commonwealth (www.commbank.com.au)

NetCode SMS: an additional one-off password. It is sent to your phone when you want to make a transaction. You enter the code along with your standard password.

Security Token: a small electronic device that delivers a one-off code. You use it like the NetCode SMS

National Australia Bank (www.nab.com.au)

SMS Payment Security: when making a payment outside your own accounts a onetime password is sent via SMS. You enter this and the transaction continues. 

Password Lock: You lock your password. When you want to do internet banking you first unlock the password by ringing the bank and using your phone bank password. This way if the bad guy has your internet banking password he would still need your phone banking password. 

Further Consideration:

If young people use the computer or you like downloading from the internet you might consider 2 computers. One for business and banking and one for aggressive web surfing. When you download from the internet you are never really sure of what you are going to get. What looks like a fun program or video could be used to disguise malware. The malware could compromise your computer's security.  A compromised computer and internet banking is a dangerous combination. A second computer might seem like an expensive option, but a reasonable price to pay for protecting your assets.

 

Should You Use Internet Banking?

This is a personal decision, but there are many safeguards in place now to make it safe,

provided you are always on your guard for unscrupulous types of people and their schemes.

 

 
 

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