| By Lincoln Spector |
Keeping your personal financial information safe from cyber thieves doesn’t require a ban on online shopping and banking — it just requires care.
Follow these tips and you should be okay — even if you take the riskier path of banking by cell phone.
Financial security starts at your home PC
The Internet is a wonderfully safe place for handling financial business — as long as you’re a criminal. Compared to robbing a bank or mugging a citizen, your chances of getting caught are minuscule.
Honest citizens, on the other hand, must take precautions when they transact business online. While the hazards are real, it doesn’t mean giving up shopping on Amazon (or managing your bank account online to cover those purchases). But it does require vigilance — and a holistic approach to security, as detailed in the following tips.
Make sure you’re malware-free. Yes, yes, we talk about malware endlessly, but most of the online attacks these days aren’t initiated as a prank by some teenaged hacker; they’re sophisticated apps launched with the express purpose of separating you from your money. For the hundredth time, keep your security software up-to-date and regularly scan your hard drive with an on-demand AV product, such as Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware.
Make sure you have a secure connection. You don’t want your personal information broadcast over the Internet unencrypted. If a website doesn’t have a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) connection, never send account numbers, social-security numbers, passwords, or any other sensitive data.