Banking and Finance
The ability to bank and perform transactions online these days lets you check your account balances, pay bills, manage your credit card accounts, control investments and set up transfers all without stepping foot in a branch.
Not surprisingly, cyber criminals target financial websites with the hopes of collecting enough information to gain access to personal accounts. Fortunately, the sophisticated security software these sites use makes them difficult to hack, so cyber criminals resort to other means to get your information.
What are the risks?
Cyber criminals will go to extraordinary lengths to steal your bank account number, your password, your login information or your credit card information – directly from you. Here are some of the ways they attempt to do this:
- Phishing: Cyber criminals create fake emails that look like ‘real' emails from your bank or financial institution asking you to reply with personal information. Be extra cautious if you're ever asked to provide sensitive information (your name, password, account number, SIN) – a bank would never ask for this by email. Also avoid links in emails that take you to websites other than your online banking site.
- Malware: This is malicious software that cyber criminals spread online and can get onto your computer in a number of ways. While you believe you're banking safely, it can:
- Steal account information by capturing your keystrokes, such as the credit card or bank card number you entered or images you've chosen to authenticate your identity.
- Hijack your account and transfer funds without your knowledge. This is done with software that launches a hidden browser window on your computer that logs in and accesses your account.
- Pharming: These attacks by cyber criminals involve redirecting your access to a legitimate website to a fake website (also known as "spoofing") that looks like the genuine one, but isn't. It may look very similar to your online banking site and include extra fields on forms that you enter (SIN, date of birth, mother's maiden name) and, without realizing it, you submit this information directly to your bank and to the attacker.
A good rule of thumb when you're banking online: always look for the "lock" icon and an https:// connection to be sure you have a safe connection. Banks and financial institutions always have your best interest in mind and do their utmost to provide you with a safe Internet banking experience. While there are risks involved with anything you do online, it shouldn't deter you from using these convenient sites. The more you learn, the safer you'll be.
Find out more about how to protect your money online.
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