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Online and mobile banking tools include security features to protect against cybercrime, but common sense precautions are still necessary when you use these services. Hackers are always working to sneak past digital safeguards to steal private data or siphon funds from bank accounts.
The following good habits can help protect your business.
It may be tempting to use simple passwords so they’re easier to manage. They’re also easy for hackers to discover. Choose hard-to-guess passwords for your bank account such as a blend of word fragments or a long phrase that includes capital and lowercase letters, punctuation, and numbers. If, like many people, you struggle to keep track of your passwords, there are tools that generate unique passwords and store them for you. For added security, enable two-factor authentication to protect your accounts. This requires users to enter a unique mobile code along with a password to gain account access.
Be sure your staff never sends information like account numbers, PINs, or passwords through email or text messages. Some hackers attempt to steal information by pretending to be a bank or other legitimate organization — they may even include personal information from social media posts or blogs to make their messages more convincing. Before giving away any private information, call the requestor to verify the request is legitimate. If you receive a request purportedly from your bank, always navigate to its website by typing in the URL rather than following a link sent to you that could be fraudulent.
Public Wi-Fi connections are convenient, but they can also be targets for hackers. When accessing your bank account or other sensitive information, use secure networks such as your cellular carrier’s network or a virtual private network (VPN) service. Adjust your device settings to prevent it from automatically connecting to public Wi-Fi. Once online, be sure the website URL begins with “https,” which indicates communication with the site is encrypted.
Because online threats are continuously evolving, it’s important to keep your anti-virus software up to date. Read reviews to ensure your program protects against a full range of threats and that it updates automatically to keep pace with new ones. Some programs offer additional benefits, such as rating websites based on how safe they are as well as blocking computer systems from connecting with malware-hosting webpages.
Get in the habit of regularly checking your balances and transaction history to be sure there are no unfamiliar charges. Sign up for account alerts so you’re notified of unusual activity such as suspicious transactions or unauthorized access to your account. If you see anything suspect, immediately notify your bank to resolve the issue.
Protecting your business against cyberthreats doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start with the simplest and most affordable tools available. And for more tips on managing cybersecurity risk, see this resource list from the U.S. Small Business Administration, and review our business-protection tips.
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