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1) Browse only on secure HTTPS sites
The first step to follow to protect online bank accounts is to avoid any link pointing to an insecure HTTPS resource or worse to a free (HTTP only) site. If we receive a dubious email or a suspicious SMS from the bank, we check that the link is legitimate and that open a secure HTTPS page: we can easily notice the deception by checking the lock icon on the top left (next to the left on the address bar), which must be intact.
If the page is secure and encrypted, we are in no danger of entering the login credentials for home-banking or for the bank’s reserved site. If we still have doubts, we contact the bank directly and ask if it is normal to receive emails requesting access to the site or warning of any access or transaction problems, without even opening the proposed links.
To learn more we can read our guide on how browse https on all banking sites with a secure connection.
2) Avoid using automatic fillers or automatic passwords
All modern browsers allow you to save passwords to access sites or to fill in the fields for accessing home banking automatically. This system makes access very convenient and immediate but exposes the credentials to theft by expert hackers, who can easily violate browsers that are not properly updated.
To avoid this danger we never save login credentials for home-banking sites, always trying to remember the credentials by heart; if we are forgetful it is much better to save the credentials on a offline password database like the one offered by KeePass.
To disable the browser’s save functions, we recommend that you read our guides on how disable autofill in Chrome and Firefox and, much more importantly, how to manage passwords saved in browsers.
3) Use virtual or prepaid credit cards
When we make online purchases we must enter the credit card details in order to continue with the payment. To prevent someone from stealing your card details it is preferable to always and only use virtual credit cards or prepaid cards, so as to be able to recharge them at the time of need only the amount necessary to complete the transaction.
Many banks provide virtual cards for online purchases (for example ING): just configure it and insert it on e-commerce sites as if it were a normal credit card, since they support international circuits such as MasterCard or Visa Electron.
To discover virtual credit cards or prepaid cards we can read our articles on best free virtual credit cards and the best prepaid cards to buy online without risk.
4) Use PayPal as much as possible
Together with the virtual credit card or the prepaid card, it is better to use PayPal as much as possible, the brokerage service that prevents the sharing of card data. In this way we will be able to pay online without running any risk and, in case of fraud or problems with orders, we can too take advantage of PayPal refunds, especially if we often buy from eBay or from one of the other sites affiliated with PayPal.
If we don’t have a PayPal account yet, please read our guide on how create a Paypal account to pay and receive payments online. If instead we want to use PayPal to pay on Amazon (which is not officially supported), we recommend that you read our guide how to pay on Amazon with Paypal or current account.
5) Use a secure browser with virtual keyboard
Many cyber attacks on credit cards or banks are brought about thanks to Keylogger, keystroke interception systems that allow malicious people to discover username and password, without the user noticing anything.
To prevent this type of attacks, we download a portable browser to be dedicated only to home-banking, we avoid installing extensions on it and, when accessing the bank’s website, we use a virtual keyboard to type at least the password.
By doing so, even if there is a keylogger on the PC, it will not be able to capture the access password of the bank’s website. To combat keyloggers we can also use specific security systems, as seen in the ai guide best Anti-keylogger for free.
6) Use safe and secure PC
Even if we use a dedicated browser to access the bank’s website, for greater data security it is important to have a safe and secure PC, following the tips below:
- Let’s update Windows to the latest version available, also installing security patches and minor updates.
- We install on the computer a great firewall, so as to block suspicious entries or unexpected outgoing connections.
- We always keep a an updated antivirus; Microsoft Defender is fine too, but needs to be kept updated every 6 hours.
- We install a anti spyware, so as to find the hidden threats.
These systems work alongside the portable browser and virtual keyboard to increase the security of each PC.
By following all the suggestions to the letter and installing all the tools seen above, the only way a hacker has to obtain the passwords and access data to the bank is to physically log in in front of the PC and try to physically enter it, since remotely it is very difficult that it can overcome all the barriers that we have placed to protect our money in the bank.
To make sure the use of checking accounts on the phone we will have to make sure of use only certified Android devices and of use an iPhone without Jailbreak, so as to close any possible flaw in the system.