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Internet Banking 101: Preventive measures against malwares

Over the last few decades, internet banking has become the means to manage one’s finances today. An individual can easily go online and make the required financial transactions such as withdrawals, deposits or even requests for certain financial instruments such as cheque books or banking cards.

Plenty of individuals use internet banking as a convenient mean to access funds whenever required from any location. However, it also has plenty of risks associated with, namely, one of which is malware. This malware contains an assortment of malicious and harmful programming, in a form of software. Without your knowledge or awareness, it would install a software on your computer, laptop or even the mobile phone.  Through this software, the malware will be able to steal information and send it to a different direction than what it had intended to.

Malware can come in different forms. Some of the common forms include the following:

• Ransomware which is software that encrypts files. The file can only be decrypted if the funds are paid.
• Phishing is a means where crucial data is stolen through a seemingly genuine source. For example, you might get an unexpected email indicating an issue with your online bank account. In order to correct this issue, you will be instructed to email back your bank details. This will also come in the form of external links, with instructions to click them for further details.
• Vishing is similar to phishing where the scam is done over a telephone. An individual pretending to be a representative of the bank or financial institute will call claiming a requirement for your bank details. If you submit these details, it will be used to create a false identity or change the access on your account.
• Smishing is similar to phishing and vishing. Similar to emails and phone calls, your smishing is when you get an SMS from a seemingly genuine source. However, the source is a scammer pretending to be a genuine sender.

Now that you are aware of the different forms of malware in internet banking, here are steps you can take to prevent malware from accessing sensitive financial data.

• Ensure your phone, desktop or laptop is protected with a PIN that is difficult to decipher. Do not reveal your PIN to anybody, as far as possible even close friends and family. If possible, change your password every three months, using a unique combination of letters, numbers, and punctuations for your various login details.

• Ensure that your system is updated with the latest software or antivirus programs. This helps you protect yourself against new malware in the market.

• Opt for an update system wherein you get an instant alert anytime your account is accessed or if a transaction occurs.

• If you get a call from a representative from your bank or financial institute requesting for your bank details, refrain from taking any action. No financial institute will request such details.

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