10 Ways to Stay Safe Online

10 Ways to Stay Safe Online

February 19, 2024

Cybercrimes don’t discriminate by age - adults, children, and even seniors are vulnerable. Elderly cybercrime rates are at an all-time high, with approximately 17,810 individuals aged 60 or older reporting tech fraud, non-payment, and non-delivery crimes in 2022 alone.

If we look at cybercrimes aimed at kids, 2022 saw a 32% increase in cybercrimes against children. Individuals of all ages are attracted to digital devices and use the internet. However, not all of them are aware of the dangers that come with it. Nonetheless, it is wiser to be safe rather than sorry. Here are the top 10 effective ways to ensure banking security.

1. Make use of strong passwords and multi-factor authentication

Strong passwords up your banking security. Changing the email ID account and bank account passwords frequently is the best strategy for staying safe online.

Some of the best practices when it comes to creating strong passwords include:

  • Do not use common passwords like 1234, and do not add your birth year or birthdate to your passwords. As per security.org, around 21% of individuals admitted using their birth year in their passwords in 2023.
  • A strong password includes numbers and special characters and is at least 11 characters in length.
  • The passwords should be changed periodically without repeating the old passwords.
  • Avoid writing down your passwords and instead use password managers.

Enabling 2F authentication, or multi-factor authentication, is also a foolproof way to protect your sensitive information from being hacked. 2F authentication uses a two-step process to log into your account. Apart from your username and password, it also requires a one-time password (OTP) sent to your registered mobile number to access your account.

Multi-factor authentication uses two or more than two steps to verify identity. Along with username, password, and OTP, multi-factor authentication may also require answering a security question and/or your fingerprint to access an account.

2. Know how to recognize phishing scams

Phishing attacks occur when cybercriminals try to deceive you into sharing your bank information, like your password, OTP, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information.

Once received, they can use it to withdraw money from your bank account, install malware or ransomware on your system, and more. How can you identify such an attempt? Remember that such attempts are usually made through email, text messages, and calls. They will make you fall for urgency. Do not share your credentials with anyone for any reason. Also, refrain from downloading attachments even when forced to do so through calls.

3. Secure your network connection

Notching up the security of your network connection can help you build a protective moat around your network system. A few of the ways to secure your network connection include:

  • Setting up a powerful firewall. You can also make use of multiple firewalls.
  • Use a secure VPN.
  • Install anti-virus and anti-malware programs. Keep them updated.
  • Enable the device encryption system.
  • Use a secure internet connection.

4. Keep your software updated

Keeping your software updated not only improves system performance but also enhances banking security. Hackers and cybercriminals often exploit vulnerabilities in old and obsolete software to carry out malicious activities. These vulnerabilities act as entry points into a system, making it crucial to update software regularly to protect against such threats.

Moreover, software updates are now frequently rolled out to remove any bugs and improve functionality. Therefore, you should update your business software, browsers, operating systems, and applications as and when they are available and notified to you.

It may take a while for a cybercriminal to find defaults in newly updated software.

5. Resort to using only secure websites

Do not visit websites with suspicious URLs. The safest links start with HTTPS, where ‘s’ stands for secure. Other warning signs to look for in URLs include:

  • Long domain names that use a lot of hyphens and symbols.
  • Domain names consisting solely of numbers hide the real identity of the owner and should be avoided.
  • Shortened URLs are popular, but they again hide the true identity of the owner and should be avoided.

If you are still not sure, use an inspection link service before clicking on one.

6. Be cautious of your social media privacy settings

Have you ever visited the privacy settings of your social media account? If not, do it right now. You may have unknowingly given consent to a privacy setting that can breach your privacy.

Review these settings not only for your social media accounts but also for website browsers, email accounts, and other platforms. These privacy settings enable you to manage the amount of data you share. Double-check before granting access to your location, chat data, and online activities, and be cautious about sharing them with third-party services.

7. Employ safe browsing practices

Browse as much as you want, but safely. Some of the safe browsing practices in this regard include:

  • Always use a known and secure internet connection.
  • Be sure of browsers and links when surfing on devices other than your own.
  • Install anti-virus software before surfing the internet.
  • Keep your browser up-to-date to prevent cyberattacks.
  • Keep cleaning web browser history, cookies, and caches.
  • Think twice before connecting to a public wi-fi.

8. Don’t forget to back up your data

Both organizations and individuals should keep backing up their data. Use a cloud service to store all your important files and data so that they can be easily recovered when lost due to a cyberattack. Organizations, in particular, should frequently back up their data. This can help them prepare for cybercrimes like ransomware.

Your data can be lost due to various reasons, like viruses, human error, hardware issues, power failure, and a lot more. Data backup and recovery save you time and effort and provide you with peace of mind while working on important projects.

Enable automatic backups or set reminders to back up your data daily, weekly, or biweekly.

9. Be cautious when downloading links

Clicking on the wrong downloading link can act as an entryway for malware. The same goes for unknown attachments. You should, therefore, be cautious before downloading free books, songs, movies, and other stuff online.

Always download from well-known and reputed websites. You should also keep a check on download tabs and delete unknown files that download into your system on their own.

10. Keep yourself educated about cybersecurity

Lastly, it’s best to keep yourself aware of the latest cyber crimes and how you can avoid them. Educate yourself on how you can stay safe online without falling prey to the tactics of cybercriminals.

Keep yourself updated by following the latest news on cybersecurity. Read cybersecurity blogs, join cybersecurity forums, and attend cybersecurity workshops and discussions if time permits. Some of the top cybersecurity blogs you can follow include Dark Reading, Schneier on Security, Hacker News, and more. You can also complete free courses on cybersecurity from popular educational platforms like Simplilearn, My Great Learning, and more.

You can also protect your kids by enabling parental controls on YouTube, Google Play, and wherever necessary.

At Bank of South Texas, we are dedicated to offering reliable and secure online banking services. Contact us today to learn more and for any assistance you may need.