Information for Online-Banking Users
Online banking is popular: according to statistics published by the BITKOM there were 26 million online customers in Germany in may 2010. There are good reasons for choosing to bank online. It is often less expensive than visiting a branch and it is also more convenient. Customers can manage their finances around the clock and from home.
Banks have put extensive security measures in place to protect confidential data when it is sent over the internet. But online customers have to play their part, too, to make their computer secure. Here are a few tips:
- Security software: It is absolutely essential to have an efficient virus scanner that is continuously updated online and thus able to detect new viruses. If a PC is not adequately protected, there is a danger of third parties accessing information with the help of so-called spyware. These programmes are hidden in internet pages, e-mails or attachments and can install themselves on computers without the user’s knowledge. Attachments to e-mails from an unfamiliar source should therefore never be opened but deleted immediately. A personal firewall should also be installed and the browser’s security settings should be used and regularly updated.
- Protect sensitive data: It should always be borne in mind that the internet is an open network and that any unsecured transmission of data may be intercepted by unauthorised third parties. So PINs and TANS should only be entered when customers are sure that they are on their bank’s secure pages and have an encrypted connection. One of the ways of verifying this is by checking that the internet address starts with https://.
Passwords, PINs and TANs should never be stored on the hard drive.
- Security checks: A thorough scan of all drives on the computer should be carried out at regular intervals, such as once a week.
These and further tips on online banking security have been compiled in a special booklet published by the Association of German Banks.