3 Basic approaches to online banking safety
Do you enjoy the convenience of managing your money on the web but wonder if hackers are waiting for you to make a wrong move? You don't have to hide in a closet while you pay your bills online. Here are three basic approaches to Internet security that match three different personality types. Which one are you?
The List Checker
The key to Internet security is like planning and executing the perfect vacation:
You make careful lists and double-check everything. Here is your online banking safety list:
- Install and update Antivirus and Antispyware
- Run a full Antivirus and Antispyware scan
- Turn on Firewall
- Download and install software updates
- Look for suspicious programs to be removed
- Change online banking password regularl
The list needs to be re-checked every month, but that is what you do. List checkers should know that on a PC the Windows Security Center can help check your security status. On a Mac you can check software updates under the Apple icon.
The Clean Freak
You keep two computers -- one dedicated to online banking and the other for fun and games. The "clean" machine has never been to Facebook or YouTube and is only used for banking, paying bills and other sensitive Internet use. The "everything else" computer is for checking up on friends, watching viral videos, playing online games or just skipping from site to site. Maintaining two computers can be costly, but you know that online peace of mind is worth the expense. Clean freaks will love the new "Netbook" computers: they are small and lightweight, with modest power and screen size that help keep the price low. Starting fresh with a dedicated computer can work well if you have the budget and the discipline to keep the banking computer as clean as the day you bought it.
You don't go anywhere on the Internet without your bodyguard. VIPs may be tweeting one minute and checking an online account balance the next. You use the latest web security programs that automatically kick in when you visit a sensitive web site and provide special protection while you bank or shop. Designed to stop keyloggers and other nasty tricks used by online criminals, these secure browsing tools are the next best thing to a dedicated computer, at a fraction of the price. Web security tools like SafeCentral from Authentium raise the shields against hackers while you bank and get out of the way while you browse.
Whether you match one of the above personalities or not, you can take control of your online safety using one or more of these approaches. Online banking and bill paying can save you time and money -- if you are careful and confident enough to make them work.