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Online banking customers, beware

Worms, viruses and Trojans " the names scary enough " are often lying in wait on devices, capturing keystrokes while customers carry out their banking.

Worms, viruses and Trojans " the names scary enough " are often lying in wait on devices, capturing keystrokes while customers carry out their banking.

Published Jun 27, 2013

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Durban - Internet banking customers who use cellphones or other mobile devices to transact on their bank accounts are the latest big targets for cyber-criminals who gain access to their devices through downloaded applications and software.

Worms, viruses and Trojans – the names scary enough – are often lying in wait on devices, capturing keystrokes while customers carry out their banking.

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The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) has warned customers to ensure they have “robust cyber security” on their home computers and mobile devices to prevent becoming victims.

“Cybercriminals bargain on bank customers who use internet and mobile banking services without appropriate security on their devices so that they can exploit these vulnerabilities for their own means,” said the centre, explaining that malicious software found its way on to devices via applications and software downloaded from unverified sources.

Sabric’s chief executive, Kalyani Pillay, said banking customers were now familiar with phishing scams, and ignored them, but their security was still being compromised by malicious software.

It was therefore important for bank customers to ensure that the service providers they used for their internet services adhered to recognised security protocols, she said.

“This is particularly important when you are using that device to conduct internet or mobile banking. Cybercriminals are always on the look-out for vulnerable computers and mobile devices that they can compromise for their own means.”

The centre advised people to create “administrator rights” on their devices to prevent illegal software from being downloaded on to them.

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These rights ensured that only the administrator could authorise or reject installations.

 

Internet banking safety

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l Ensure that the device you use to do internet or mobile banking has appropriate and updated security packages installed. Run regular anti-virus scans, or have them scheduled for at least once a week.

l Never follow links to URLs e-mailed to you, and don’t Google your bank’s address.

l Caution must be exercised when using wireless hotspots for banking, as the average user will not be able to detect unsecured networks.

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l Do not use public computers such as those in internet cafes to do online banking.

l If your computer hangs, rather reboot and ensure that the anti-virus software is up and running.

l Use robust passwords that include letters, numbers and symbols and are longer than six digits.

l Do not use obvious information in your passwords, such as your own name or birth date, or those of your family.

l Change your PIN and passwords frequently. Do not use the same passwords for social media and banking. Do not recycle passwords. - The Mercury

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