Cybersecurity Month 2021

Is Online Banking Secure?

Cybersecurity web around mobile device

Posted on Sep 29, 2021

Is online banking secure? This was a common question asked of bankers years ago when financial institutions began offering online banking as a service. Back then, the security tips were simple and included recommendations such as ensuring your computer has antivirus software installed and using a complex password.

Fast forward to today and the features offered within online banking---and now mobile banking---have certainly come a long way. Convenient features include remote deposit, person-to-person payments, and the ability to move money between your accounts at different banks.

Understandably for some, not only do the new features available seem complicated, but so does the thought of securing them. It’s important to remember that as online and mobile services advance, so do the security features that complement them.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month was launched by the National Cyber Security Alliance and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in October 2004 as a broad effort to help all Americans stay safer and more secure online. With this annual reminder of the importance of cybersecurity, October is also a good time to review the online and mobile security features available to help secure and monitor your online banking activities. While having antivirus software installed is still a valid recommendation, here are seven additional suggestions for securing and monitoring your online transactions.  

  • Use a complex, unique User ID. Do not use a dictionary word, your name, or a User ID that you utilize elsewhere. For example, if your email address is savvysurfer10@gmail.com, do not use savvysurfer10 as your User ID. Make it complex by adding numbers and special characters to make it harder for others to guess. You can change your User ID by navigating to the Security Preferences section found under Settings when you are logged into Online Banking.
  • Use a complex, unique password. Again, do not use a dictionary word and make it harder to guess by adding numbers and special characters. Plus, the longer the better when it comes to passwords---which can also be passphrases, such as IL0ve0nl!neB@nking. If you need help remembering your passwords, consider storing them in a safe place such as a password manager. You can update your password by navigating to the Security Preferences section found under Settings when you are logged into Online Banking.
  • Review your multifactor settings. Banks began offering multifactor authentication years ago. Unfortunately, many customers still utilize email to receive multifactor codes. With passwords for email accounts rarely changed, many consumers have had their email accounts compromised allowing cybercriminals to receive the codes. Email is the least secure option for receipt of multifactor codes. Having codes sent to a landline via a phone call or to a cell phone via text or phone call isn’t perfect, but this is far better than email. To review your multifactor code delivery options, navigate to the Security Preferences section found under Settings and review your Secure Delivery options.
  • Use multifactor for every login. That way, if your computer does get malware, cybercriminals need more than just your User ID and password to login. If you have registered your device so multifactor is not required, you can clear your browser’s cache or contact us to have your browser registration reset.
  • Utilize alerts to monitor online activity. Banks offer a variety of login and transaction alerts; however, some are optional or you have to opt-in to receive them. Enrolling for new features, like person-to-person payments, also opens up access to additional alerts. Review the alerts that are available for the features you utilize. Sending alerts to your email is good, but consider opting-in to have them sent via text or phone call as well. That way, if a cybercriminal does obtain access to your email and deletes the emailed alerts, you have an alternative way to view important alerts. To review your Online Banking alerts, navigate to the Alerts section found under Settings. If you utilize Bill Pay, navigate to Transactions – Bill Pay – Advanced – Visit Bill Pay Site. Select the My account option to review the Notifications settings. Instead of just having Bill Pay notifications emailed to you, consider adding your mobile phone to receive text alerts. It’s also important to review your online profile by navigating to the Profile section found under Settings. This information may be utilized to receive alerts when you choose to enroll for additional services such as Mobile Deposit and person-to-person payments so it’s important to keep it current.
  • Watch for phishing and bank impersonation scams. Cybercriminals phish for personal details including your User ID, password, and/or multifactor codes. NWSB Bank employees will not ask for this information in an unsolicited phone call or text message. Remember, caller ID can be spoofed so even if the caller claims to be with the Bank if they ask for this information, it’s best to end the conversation and contact us directly.
  • Update your contact information on file. That way, we can contact you if we identify concerns with your accounts. Updating your online banking information does not update all of our records. Please call us or visit an office to review and update your information on file.  

Throughout the upcoming month of October, you can find additional tips for securing your devices, safely using WiFi, and other cybersecurity tips using the official hashtags #BeCyberSmart and #CybersecurityAwarenessMonth or by visiting www.staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online.