Yo! Wassup, it’s your boy Vonnie again and I’ve got something new for you all.
How many of you login to your online bank to check your balance and ooogle over all the commas in your account?
Am I the only one that does that? The negative sign doesn’t count.
Today I have three security mistakes you’re making right now with your online financial transactions. Let’s not waste anytime – let’s get right to it.
1. Not Treating your Smartphone as your Key
So here’s the dealy – your smartphone has become the key to your personal kingdom. I mean, just think about it: imagine if you left your phone unlocked in the middle of Time Square.
- What could someone do to your accounts?
- Who would people call?
- What financial data could an attacker access? Could an attacker access your mobile banking app?
- Could they unlock your car? Your home? Your whole life?
So the first thing you need to do is to protect your smartphone. You need to treat your smartphone like your keys. Here’s what you need to do:
- First, make sure your iPhone or Droid is protected with a strong password. Duh, yes but important.
- Don’t do any mobile banking when connected to public Wi-Fi. My iPhone 8 Plus is running iOS 11.2.1 and I’ve configured it not to automatically join public hotspots. Most of these aren’t safe because there’s no password to login or everyone knows the password (including the bad guys) and there’s virtually nothing to stop them from discreetly sniffing packets and decoding passwords as they fly through the air. To set this up go to Settings > Wi-Fi > Ask to Join Networks.
- Try to download the Mobile Banking Apps directly from your banking website. It’s the most reliable way to make sure you’re not getting a malware laden decoy from the App or Play store.
2. Having a Wack Password
So listen up guys – we’re talking about your bank password right? So then why do you have that stupid password that contains your wedding anniversary date, your birthday and your cats name? You know hackers can easily find all that jazz online for free right? You wouldn’t believe how much information we give up about ourselves without even knowing it. If you have a Facebook account (c’mon I know you do) then you’re probably already sharing too much about your personal life. Add in a LinkedIN account and, man it’s a field day for hackers.
All they have to do is to Google your name or use easily available tools to quickly pick apart little details about your life.
So here’s my advice: when protecting access to your bank use a grownup password. None of this easily crackable crap. Use a passphrase that is at least 14 characters in length that contains NO real names or meaningful numbers. And then either store it in a password management system such as LastPass or DashLane or commit it to memory. Trust me, it’s not that hard to memorize complex passwords.
3. Ignoring your Banks Security Services
Top tip: did you know your bank actually doesn’t want your account to get hacked? It looks bad on them. They don’t want to show up in the news for that! So the banks have tried to make it easy to secure your account.
For example, with Bank of America you can have them text you if an unrecognized computer or mobile device signs in with your online ID and Wells Fargo has Enhanced Sign-On (which is they’re play on two-factor authentication). It just means anyone logging into your account will need something more than just your password. They need two factors of authentication for access.
The Bottom Line
Be smart with your smartphone. Use a strong password to secure it and don’t leave it laying around (or even in your car in plain sight with the door locked, you don’t want to tempt a break-in). Make sure you use a solid password that’s long, complex and hard to guess and read up on all your banks security services and start enabling them. Don’t become a victim! Take control of your online financial transactions today!