by Robert Siciliano

Banks Need You to Partner in Security

Aug 24, 2010

Sticking your cash in a mattress has never been a good idea. That’s why we have banks. Banks have safes, insurance, and other systems in place to ensure that multiple layers of security protect your money. In the past decade, however, as much as 80% of all banking has taken place online, compared to the hundreds of years of traditional banking. Clearly, this is all about convenience. And it has become apparent that these conveniences of technology have outpaced consumers’ security intelligence. It is possible to secure systems in a way that will defeat most online criminal activity, but that level of security comes with inconveniences that the consumer may not be equipped to handle. According to American Bankers Association VP of risk-management policy Doug Johnson, “The banking industry wants consumers to monitor their online accounts for unauthorized transactions on a continuous, almost daily, basis. That’s because PCs and smartphones have become the online bank branch for a lot of individuals. The customer needs to really recognize that security is most effective when they work in partnership with their financial institution.” When banks began building out their infrastructure to allow for online banking, they didn’t anticipate the thousands of ways in which the bad guy would scheme to separate banks and their clients from their cash. There are tens of thousands of viruses created every year to overtake users’ PCs and con customers into entering their credentials in spoofed pages. While banks are fighting their own battles, working with the security industry to create new technologies to combat fraud and account takeover, it is imperative that the banks’ customers adhere to the fundamentals. * Set your computer’s operating system to automatically update critical security patches. * Make sure your firewall is turned on and protecting two way traffic. * Always run antivirus software, and set it to update virus definitions automatically. * Run a protected wireless network. * Never click links within the body of an email. Instead, go to your favorites menu or type familiar addresses into the address bar. Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto, discusses online banking security on CBS Boston. (Disclosures)