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It wasn’t that long ago when we stood in line at the bank or store to make some kind of financial transaction. Whether we wanted to make a deposit, a money transfer or simply pay the bills, we wasted hours getting to the facility, waiting in line, hoping the teller would move faster, and so on.
When internet banking came into the picture, we kissed the traditional payment system goodbye. With online transactions turning into a new hype, banks started offering internet banking and making deals with retailers to promote the online shopping experience. Little did we know back then about the risks to our personal information.
The growth and risks of online banking
According to a Research and Markets report, in 2014 “the number of online payment users in China neared 300 million, while mobile payment users topped 200 million.” The same report states that over 50% of Canadian users fear for their privacy and security when making online transactions.
Naturally, the growth of e-banking, especially via mobile devices, paved the way for banking fraud. It didn’t take long for scammers to come up with simple malware schemes to compromise accounts and walk off with the money.
How e-banking fraud works
Online banking fraud mainly targets retail clients and commercial accounts. The attacks take various shapes and forms, with the most common focusing on tricking the user to steal their PIN codes and login credentials.
This is not difficult to do. It’s enough to use a corrupt browser window or click on a pop-up which will take you to a new window to make the fake payment. Hackers use the man-in-the-browser attack to manipulate software so the transactions seem to be legitimate, yet in the background they take advantage of the security vulnerability and alter the payments.
Stay safe from online fraud and identity theft
Prevention is always the best and cheapest option. So the easiest way to protect your online experience, is to not use the same password for more than one account. It is indeed difficult to remember complicated passwords when you have dozens of accounts, but tools like Bitdefender Wallet can help you manage your passwords.
Bear in mind, if you receive a strange email from a Susan you have never met, it might be a good idea not to open the attachment or click on any links in the body of the email, no matter how tempting. This is the most common type of phishing attack, and it claims countless victims every day.
You should already know to avoid payments via untrusted websites or pop-ups or when connected to public Wi-Fi hot spots. However, temptation is out there. So the best option is to make sure your online banking and e-shopping experience is protected by a software security solution. Bitdefender Safepay is a free desktop app that hack-proofs your browser to keep all transactions secure. As the browsers we normally use are vulnerable to malware attacks, Bitdefender Safepay uses its own browser to prevent third-party attacks and scans all URLs for malware and phishing scams.
Just remember, each time you make an online transaction, you put your identity at risk. Nowadays cybercriminals are slick, so don’t underestimate their skill at stealing your personal information, banking details, or account credentials. Once they hack into the system, they start making transactions in your name.