Is online banking really safe?


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Online banking can seem risky. Here is an explanation of how you are protected. (Photo: Getty)

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when online banking was a daunting prospect for many who weren’t born into a digital world. But, like many old habits, the pandemic has changed that. Before Covid, two-thirds of Americans over 50 were hesitant to bank online, according to Forbes Advisor. In April 2020, 77% of people aged 60 and over had made a financial transaction online.

The trend is upward. A recent study found that 88% of baby boomers have used online banking services in the past year. With Covid persisting, the question arises: are seniors using online banking services because they have to or because they are legitimately comfortable?

While we await the results of these surveys, you can rest assured that online banking is safe. Banks go above and beyond with security measures, and you can do your part at home too. Norton Security Online helps keep your personal information private, protecting you and your finances from hackers, scammers and cybercrimes in real time.

Try Norton Security Online free for 30 days*

Woman on laptop with small dog on her lap

Bank from anywhere and rest easy knowing you’re protected. (Photo: Getty)

Norton Security Online uses serious security technology: it’s actually backed by the largest civilian cyber threat intelligence network in the world. And this technology is on alert 24/7, running silently in the background of your PC.

Here are some of the most common online banking security tools

Have you ever seen the security guards on duty at your local bank branch? Banks are serious when it comes to security measures, and online banking is no exception. In fact, it is – they do more to keep your online financial transactions secure. Here are five of their main tools:

  • firewall: Online banks use special networks called firewalls that prevent unauthorized traffic from entering and allow only authorized activity. Many companies use firewalls as a first line of defense against malicious actors.

  • Encryption: This rather ominous sounding word actually means big things to you as an online banker. Encryption basically means that the data is scrambled so that only the parties involved in the transaction – you and the bank – can understand it. The bank, however, has the key that perfectly deciphers the information on its side. Hackers can’t read it.

Woman on laptop reading papers

It’s always a good idea to implement multi-factor authentication to ensure that malicious actors do not gain access to your private information. (Photo: Getty)

  • Multi-factor authentication: This is one of the most common security measures taken by online banks. It prevents fraudsters from accessing your account by asking you to prove your identity in two or more ways before you can access your account. Most often, you will enter your password, then receive an SMS on your phone asking you to validate yourself. Sometimes biometrics are also involved, most often in the form of fingerprints or face identification.

  • Cookies: Cookies are one or more small pieces of data that identify your computer to a website with a unique code. Many websites, including online banks, place browser cookies (they are harmless) on your computer after the first time you visit, so that the site can remember you and easily authenticate you when you visit. again using the same device. If you log in to your online bank through a new device, the bank will probably ask you for credentials again (the security questions you answered when you signed up) because they don’t remember you, but it will leave your device with a cookie so it recognizes you next time.

  • Account monitoring and alerts: Online banks carefully monitor your account activity and will send you real-time text alerts (you need to sign up) about things like withdrawals and transfers, so you can keep track of things. But sometimes a bank specifically sends a fraud alert when it recognizes suspicious activity (this could include a large purchase, a foreign transaction, or just an erratic spending pattern). When this happens, the bank will block the transaction (even if it was you), and the alert will ask if you recognize it. If you confirm it was you, the bank will allow you to perform the transaction again, successfully. But if you confirm that it is a fraud, the bank will instantly deactivate your card and issue you a new one with a new account number.

  • Privacy policies: Online banks have strict privacy policies in place that are bound by law, and employees are trained to keep your privacy paramount. And no, they can’t see your passwords – however, you should still change these passwords frequently for your own security.

Try Norton Security Online free for 30 days*

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