Protect your business online banking account
Step into the ANZ Bank branch on the corner of Queen and Collins Street in Melbourne to reflect on the glory days of banking. Do you remember a distant time when you would line up to withdraw your wages? Or when the Bank Manager knew your name and helped you with a home loan.
This branch is what many Melbournians dub the ‘gothic bank’. It would not look out of place as Gringots in the Harry Potter films. In those days, you were okay with waiting under the sweeping arches and admiring the impressive late 19th-century architecture.
Of course, you don’t need to visit a branch to do most banking in 2023. The internet has transformed how we bank and interact with financial institutions.
Now 73% of people globally use some form of online banking at least monthly. Now, doing your banking has never been more convenient, but it’s wise to be aware of the risks involved.
In 2021, account takeover fraud increased by a staggering 90%. In addition, new account fraud jumped a whopping 109%. As the ease of online banking has grown, moving from desktop browsers to apps, the risk of a banking-related cybercrime has also lifted.
A crook accessing your Instagram or Linkedin account can be painful; having your bank accounts hacked is devastating. Sometimes, it may mean a significant financial loss you can’t recoup from your bank.
I want to share some well-known mistakes people still make with online banking. And then share tips on how to conduct your online banking safely.
Common mistakes allowing crooks access to your online banking
Not using two-factor (or multi-factor) authentication
When you enable two-factor authentication (2FA) for online banking, you must take the extra step to gain access. For example, this usually consists of receiving a one-time passcode (OTP) by text message and entering that at login.
Far too many people make the mistake of leaving this disabled. They either don’t know it’s there or think it’s too inconvenient. But failing to use 2FA exposes your online banking to be hacked as the security is only as strong as your password.
You fall victim to a phishing scam.
A recent study by CommBank found that Aussies received, on average, 250 scam attempts a year.
And one scam that continues to rise is phishing, mainly focused on online banking. Cybercrooks send emails that look like they come from your bank. Some even offer incredible deals like low rates on credit cards or cash back on loans.
Other scams can involve warning you of unauthorised account activity and asking you to log in using the link provided. But when you click the link, you’re directed to a fake page that looks like your typical banking website. Recently, a Sydney man was jailed for creating fake CommBank and nab bank sites, phishing over $100,000 in stolen funds.
Using your pet’s name, DOB or very basic passwords
Here’s a good tip – if your online banking account password is easy to remember, it’s also often easy to guess. Using weak passwords is a frequent mistake that enables many cyber crooks to access your accounts.
Best practices for passwords include:
- Make them at least ten characters long
- Include at least one number
- Include at least one symbol
- Include at least one upper-case letter
- Don’t make them personal (e.g., don’t use your birthdate or your middle name)
- Use a password manager to help keep you safe
Downloading unsafe mobile apps
Be aware of the innocent task manager app lurking in the App Store or Google Play Store. These mobile apps often contain hidden malicious banking trojans. But, once installed, banking trojans seek out any details. For example, they will look at your banking apps, wallet or browser history.
Using public Wi-Fi to do your banking
Whilst sometimes unavoidable, using public Wi-Fi is a well-known way hackers can access your online banking password. They often hang out in public hot spots to spy on you. So avoiding online banking on public Wi-Fi or sharing sensitive details when connected would be best. If you have to, connect to a VPN before doing anything as critical as online banking.
Tips for Improving Online Banking Security
Switch on two-factor authentication (2FA)
You should enable two-factor authentication in your online banking account before you finish reading this article. This is sometimes called multi-factor authentication (MFA) or two-step verification. Microsoft reports this simple action can block 99.9% of fraudulent account login attempts.
Enable banking alerts
When an intruder breaches your account, time is of the essence. So, the quicker you can contact your bank about the breach, it will dramatically reduce the impact on you by having your account locked down immediately.
But to react fast, you should set up banking alerts through your online banking app. You will then receive alerts or notifications that could include low-balance alerts and login alerts.
Install an antivirus and DNS Filtering on all your devices.
It’s critical to have reliable antivirus software on your computer and devices. Unfortunately, many people don’t consider protecting their smartphones in the same way as a laptop. Yet, they still shop online and bank via mobile devices. Additionally, using a DNS (domain name system) filter is a great idea that protects you from going to dangerous phishing sites by blocking them.
Attend a phishing training class.
How do you identify phishing? Are you up to date on all the latest scams? You can make yourself less vulnerable by taking some phishing awareness classes. There are many for free online, and many banks offer sessions too. In these classes, you can learn how to
spot phishing via text, email, and phone, so you can avoid becoming a victim.
Need help protecting your online banking?
There are some robust digital solutions and helpful strategies we can put in place to guard against cybercrime. Or we can facilitate a training session on phishing in your workplace. Finally, schedule a call to discuss how to protect your business online.
About the author
Yener is the founder and Managing Director of Intuitive IT. Prior to running his own business Yener worked for a number of corporate organisations where he gained invaluable experience and skills, as well as an understanding of how IT can complement and improve business outcomes.