When it comes to online and mobile banking, Filipino consumers have one big fear: cyber attacks that can wipe their life-long savings within seconds.
However, while it’s true that there are threats to the security of your bank accounts online, there are also plenty of ways to protect yourself. Here are some tips to ensure that your online and mobile banking experience is as safe as can be:
Watch Out for Suspicious Links
If you ever receive any links that lead to an unfamiliar website or ask you to download an app, don’t click them. They’re most likely designed to capture your personal information and get into accounts. Do note that these exist not just for banking, but also for social media, e-commerce, and even gaming accounts.
That said, to protect your hard-earned money, make sure that you’re visiting legitimate mobile banking Philippines’ sites and downloading official apps. For websites in particular, check the address bar to see if there’s a padlock icon, indicating that it’s protected by a security protocol.
Know What Phishing and SMiShing Look Like
Phishing is a method in which cybercriminals pretend to be reputable companies in an attempt to acquire your personal information. This is usually done through email, and the entities usually imitated are banks, lenders, government offices, and retail establishments. Often, phishing emails will tell you that you have to update your account or that you’ve won something.
The same method is now being replicated using SMS, which is referred to as SMiShing. Instead of emails, hackers will send text messages and often follow it up with a call.
To avoid getting victimized, it’s important to be aware of an email or text you receive is phishing or a SMiShing attempt. Fortunately, it’s easy enough. Banks and other reputable institutions will never ask you for information like your password so if you encounter anything like this, don’t proceed.
You should also inspect the email address and the name of the sender to make sure that it’s really your bank. Check wrong spellings, numbers replacing letters or overlong addresses. Most importantly, when in doubt, just delete the email or text and call your bank’s hotline.
Always Update Your Phone’s OS
Your phone’s manufacturer will release periodic updates to their mobile operating system (OS), usually every two months or so. These updates are designed to fix bugs that prevent some apps and features from working properly, as well as optimize your phone’s overall performance. OS updates also improve your phone’s security.
This simply means that you HAVE to install these updates once they become available. This is especially important if you conduct banking transactions using your phone. If you don’t install the OS updates ASAP, your phone and personal details may be open to cyber attacks.
Always Update to the Latest Version of Your Banking App
Just like how phone manufacturers update their OS, your bank also regularly updates its app. Sometimes, they only update the user interface and add some new features; however, there are also times that they provide significant overhauls to the system. In fact, you may even get prompted to uninstall the old app and get the new version that has newer stronger security features.
Same as your phone’s OS, make sure to update or download the latest version of your banking app to receive all the necessary security features.
Two-factor authentication or 2FA is a process that requires you to input a code—a one-time password or OTP—to approve a transaction. This is regardless of whether you’ve already logged in successfully to use a website or app. This additional layer of security prevents fraudulent transactions, in case your account gets compromised.
Usually, you will receive the OTP via text or email. Don’t share this OTP with anyone; if you receive an OTP even if you aren’t conducting any transactions, report it to your bank immediately.
Stop Using Unsecured WiFi Connections
When you’re out and about, it’s tempting to use a public WiFi connection to save on mobile data. However, unsecured wireless connections are quite vulnerable to hackers. In fact, skilled hackers can take only 10 minutes or so to get into an unprotected WiFi network. Then, they can easily reveal the passwords and other sensitive information of those who used the connection.
This is why you need to stop using unsecured wireless networks. If you really need to perform a banking transaction, it’s better to either use your own mobile data or visit the nearest bank branch.
Limit the Devices You Use to Access Your Accounts
To protect your mobile banking accounts, it’s best to use only one or two devices to access them. Ideally, you should use your personal phone to download the official banking app and then your personal computer at home to access the bank’s website. This way, there are fewer ways and opportunities for hackers to “get in” and steal your information. (Of course, make sure that your phone and computer are also properly protected.)
Finally, be observant. Besides the above-mentioned tips, this is the best way you can protect your mobile banking account.