5 Tips To Safe Online Banking

Forget all the doomsayers, online banking is safe and extremely useful for managing your money, including any savings account.

Just like the name ‘online’ suggests, this is a business carried out purely over the Internet and therefore there is no physical prove of identification which makes it more prone to cases of fraud.Here are some of the sensible precautions that I apply when I use Internet banking. This simple steps involved doesn't require a computer geek rather a savvy PC user.

Prevention is your best defense. The best way to keep your PC running smoothly is to prevent problems before they occur. Here are a few tips:

# 1 Use Virus Protection

If you want to maintain your computer you must use anti-virus protection. Viruses can damage your computer to the point that you have to either restore your computer to previous date or you may even have to reinstall Windows all together.

Get a free copy of AVG or Microsoft Security Essentails (MSE) anti-virus. MSE is a security suite, that is, not only is it an anti-virus but also a spyware protection. Ensure it is set to both update daily and run a daily scan. Installing the Windows updates will mean your machine gets the latest security fixes and software patches.

Make the MSE update automatically by following the below steps:
  • Click Start at the bottom left of your screen.
  • Click Settings and then Control Panel.
  • Look for the icon Automatic Updates.
  • Click the Automatic button and then set it to every day at a time when your PC is usually on
  • Click Apply and you're done.

# 2 Install Spyware Protection

Part of maintaining your computer should also include protecting your identity while you are online. This means that you should install spyware protection. Spyware protection will detect any threats that are trying to steal your information. You can get a free copy Lavasoft

# 3 Personal Firewall

A personal firewall is an application that controls network traffic to and from a computer., permitting or denying communication based on a security policy. A firewall can block malware, spyware, viruses and trojans that could otherwise scan your computer for vulnerabilities and then try to break in at the weakest point. The Vista, Windows 7 operating systems have personal firewalls in-built and are turned on by default to only keeps outside threats (Internet) from getting in, it is an inbound firewall. You should leave the feature turned on until you replace it with third party software like Comodo or ZoneAlarm.

# 4 Install Parental Control Software

Parental controls is a term that has been widely used to describe tools that allow parents to choose appropriate content for their children. It may not be a necessary tool for an adult but by controlling the content accessible by the young, you are able to minimize the risks of worms and trojans associated with such contents. Parental Control Bar is a free service that helps parents to prevent children from accessing adult-oriented websites. Crawler Parental Control is also a free tool that allows you to control user activities on your computer.

# 5 Quick Tip-Be Sensible When Online

Don't open or download everything you think is cool: such as any suspect emails, especially ones asking you to log in to your bank account. Ensure that your bank has a security certificate for its online system. A security certificate acts as an anti-fraud measure, it also gives confidence to the customers because many of these certificates come with warranty so that in cases of customers accounts being tampered with, compensation can then be arranged.

For secured banks, the address bar in most cases turns to green or blue depending on the quality of the certificate the bank has put in place. For example, when an online banking address bar turns blue then it is secure. In the case where the address bar is red this could mean that the certificate is either forged or expired. Unsecured banks have no color change on the online web address bar.

One is able to access the security certificate from their bank’s online page and view the issuer of the certificate, date of issue or even the expiry date. It is important to note that a single security certificate is used at a time so there is no chance of having multiple security certificates issuers at the same time. A secure online bank page, the address is normally followed by letter (s) e.g https://www and at the foot of the page is a symbol of a padlock.

Avoid careless spelling mistakes when banking online as this could lead you to a hacker’s server thereby exposing your account to fraud.

Logging in to your online banking from a cyber cafe is highly discouraged. Public places like a cyber cafe or shared computers expose your account to more risk because of lack confidentiality in these machines.

Also, do not install and uninstall programs too often. This is a mistake committed by many people. Installing and uninstalling too many programs would stack up your windows registry, which will slow down the performance of your computer. If you really want to protect your PC from unpredictable software use Sand Box freeware. Its a freeware program that provides a safe vault for you to install and test new software, run existing programs, or surf the web and if something bad happens it cannot affect your PC. Simply, install, access the control window  and use it to run any program installed or loaded in your PC.

A good rule of thumb I use when online is that if anything even looks mildly suspect then it is.

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