December 10, 2009

Your guide to safe ONLINE BANKING

online-threatsGiven our busy days and hectic lifestyles, most of us today opt for online banking and financial transactions. The advantages are undeniable: its convenient, fast and flexible. However, it is essential to be aware of the possible threats that one might face online especially while dealing in financial trasactions. Here are some of the threats and a few tips that would help you counter them:

1. Phishing   – Phishing is a criminal activity using social engineering techniques. Phishers attempt to fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as user names, passwords and credit card details, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Phishing is typically carried out using email or an instant message, and often directs users to give details at a website.

Minimize the risk of phishing

  • Always type the full site name into your Internet browser to log on. Never click on or copy – paste the URL given in an e-mail or another site.
  • Verify the authenticity of e-mail requesting personal login information, such as bank account id, user name, password or PIN, by either calling the bank over phone or separately visiting the bank’s website.
    Authentic bank e-mail will not request personal details or login information.
  • Delete all unsolicited e-mail immediately.
  • Change your Internet banking password on a regular basis and maintain a complex multi-character password.
  • Keep your anti-virus and firewalls up-to-date and perform regular scans of your computer/laptop.

2. Spyware – Spyware and other unwanted software can invade your privacy, bombard you with pop-up windows, slow down your computer, and even make your computer crash. Here are several ways you can help protect your computer against spyware and other unwanted software

Protect yourself from Spyware

  • Carefully read the fine lines stated as “Terms and conditions” before you install free programs or subscribe to services from the Internet.
  • Regularly update your anti-spyware program to scan your computer.
  • Use a firewall – While most spyware and other unwanted software come bundled with other programs or originate from unscrupulous Web sites, a small amount of spyware can actually be placed on your computer remotely by hackers. Installing a firewall or using the firewall that’s built into Windows XP provides a helpful defense against these hackers.
  • Adjust Internet Explorer security settings – You can adjust your Internet Explorer Web browser’s security settings to determine how much—or how little—information you are willing to accept from a Web site. Microsoft recommends that you set the security settings for the Internet zone to Medium or higher.
    • To view your current Internet Explorer security settings:
      • In Internet Explorer, click Tools and then click Internet Options
      • Select the Security tab
  • Install antispyware protection – It is very important to have effective antispyware software – for Example, Windows Defender: which protects your computer from spyware and other unwanted software. Surf and download more safely – The best defense against spyware and other unwanted software is not to download it in the first place. Here are a few helpful tips that can protect you from downloading software you don’t want:
    • Only download programs from Web sites you trust. If you’re not sure whether to trust a program you are considering downloading, ask a knowledgeable friend or enter the name of the program into your favorite search engine to see if anyone else has reported that it contains spyware.
    • Read all security warnings, license agreements, and privacy statements associated with any software you download
    • Never click “agree” or “OK” to close a window. Instead, click the red “x” in the corner of the window or press the Alt + F4 buttons on your keyboard to close a window
    • Be wary of popular “free” music and movie file-sharing programs, and be sure you clearly understand all of the software packaged with those programs.

3. Virus – A virus, as you might be aware, is a software that performs unwanted operations. It is active only when the program it is attached to is active. A virus deletes files, corrupts the hard disk and system files leading to complete system malfunction.cr092k8-leadart

Minimizing the risk

Have anti-virus installed all the time, and keep it updated with the latest virus definitions. Install antivirus software’s like Norton, McAfee etc

  • Schedule anti-virus scans every day
  • Download and install security patches for your operating system as soon as they are available
  • Install software from trusted sources only
  • Use an Internet firewall
  • Turn on automatic updates in your Windows operating feature.
  • Unless clear on an e-mail’s attachment, do not open it

4. Trojans
Trojan is a destructive program that poses as a harmless application. Generally, a Trojan is a component of a multiple-part malicious program. The aim of these programs is to gather information from host machines. The Trojan collects data and sends them back to some remote program that is later used for a malicious purpose.

How to avoid Trojans

  • Do not open emails or accept attachments or click on links from unknown sources
  • Install software from trusted sources only
  • Scan your computer regularly for Trojans and other malicious programs with up-to-date anti-virus software
  • Use a firewall to monitor traffic to and from your computer while connected to the Internet
  • Download and install security patches for your operating system as soon as they are available


  1. Dude ….fantastic post…..of great practical use

    • vishalgaba

      Thanks 🙂

  2. computer support service,

    Great post about safe online banking. I like the part where you clearly divulge Phishing cause most people don’t know what it is. Your take on spyware was actually good as well. To the people will read this post I myself is an expert and I recommend that you follow what he said. Cheers!

    • vishalgaba

      Glad to know you found it useful 🙂

  3. computer support service

    just to add another thing. it is important to pay attention on the minimizing the risk section of the blog since prevention is better than cure.

  4. as they say..never go banking online if you do not even have any idea how to do it..there’s just a lot of bad things going on online that its basically safer to do it the traditional way..IMO!..:)

    • vishalgaba

      Exactly and that is the reason why we need to be doubly careful while carrying out any transactions online!

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