Technological advancement has brought huge benefits to consumers, particularly in the form of digital and mobile banking. An estimated 69% of Brits now do their banking online, with this number having doubled in little more than a decade.
However, digital banking is not without its risks, particularly with cyber-theft techniques becoming increasingly sophisticated. Figures from the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) show that 34 significant cyber-attacks tool place in the year ending October 2017, with a further 762 smaller hacks reported during this time.
This means that you must take a proactive approaching to keeping your data and money secure. Here’s how you can achieve this:
- Use Mobile Banking Apps
Mobile banking is becoming increasingly popular, with an estimated 71% of the UK population having accessed their accounts through a smartphone or tablet in 2017.
This includes 22 million Brits who regularly use a mobile app to access their accounts, and this is arguably the safest way to bank digitally.
Official bank apps can be downloaded through iOS or Android depending on your handset, while a growing number use two-factor authentication to provide multi-layered security when logging in.
Similarly, modern smartphones tend to have advanced cryptographic hardware built in, making them incredibly difficult for hackers to breach. They also have a single primary user and password protection, creating the type of technological security that will deter most thieves.
- Avoid Logging in on a Public Wi-Fi Network
If you’re using a smartphone, you should avoid logging in to a mobile browser or banking app using an unsecured public Wi-Fi network. While these are readily accessible in coffee shops and libraries throughout the UK, their open nature makes them extremely vulnerable to opportunistic hackers.
To minimise this risk, disable the Wi-Fi on your device when you leave your home. This will ensure that you only use a secure 4G connection to access your banking app and complete transactions while on the move.
You’ll also need to log out securely once you’re done, before closing the app completely on your phone.
If you’re a laptop user and need to access your account outside of a secured network, you should either wait until you return home or call the bank directly from your smartphone.
- Never Respond to Unsolicited Emails
We’ve already touched on the rising number of cyber scams in the UK, with many of these revolving around the use of email.
A number of hackers communicate with people using cloned email addresses, in an attempt to solicit personal information such as their data of birth, address and telephone number.
They may also ask the unsuspecting recipient to confirm their bank details, or direct them to call a number that puts their mobile data at risk.
The key thing to remember is that banks rarely send unsolicited communications to their customers, particularly through email. If you receive a message asking you to reply with personal details or information, discard this immediately and review your existing spam email filters.
If you’re in any doubt at all about the correspondence you’ve received, contact your bank on their official phone number and speak to a representative.