By Carlos Morales, VP, Information Security Officer

Banking online can save you time and money, but that bank security guard you see in your local branch won't be behind the scenes protecting you from cyber thieves. Although banks have fancy security devices safeguarding their assets and client data and cyber security guards monitoring their networks 24/7, each person who banks online also needs to take security precautions to protect themselves from thieves.

Cyber thieves can use a variety of methods to infect your computer with malware or harmful software. If your computer becomes infected, you probably won't even know it. That infection could allow attackers to track your keystrokes and obtain your banking login credentials, which would enable hackers to login to your account as you.

To protect your online banking account, follow the security tips below:

  • Keep your computer "patched" with the latest updates. All applications have weaknesses. When discovered, the software makers create patches for them so attackers can't break into them and infect your computer. Each time any of your software applications like Adobe and Flash have an update to install, install it. But be sure you go to the application's official website to download the patch to ensure that you install the authentic patch rather than clicking on a fraudulent link an attacker created that could infect your computer.
  • Keep your anti-virus/anti-spyware and firewall software updated.
  • Never enter personal information, such as your social security number or date of birth, in a "pop-up" screen. Screen views that pop up in the middle of a session when you are ordering something online is usually a sign that a hacker is behind the scenes. Contact the company whose website is asking for that information to inquire if the request for that personal information is legitimate.
  • Don't open suspicious emails. Delete them.
  • Check your bank statements regularly to look for unauthorized transactions.
  • Never provide your personal or financial information in response to an unsolicited phone call, fax, or email no matter how official it may seem.
  • Do not respond to an email that may warn of dire consequences if you do not validate your information immediately.

Remember, First Liberty Bank will never email, text, or call to ask you for your online banking password, account number, or other sensitive information. If you notice any suspicious activity in your account, call First Liberty Bank immediately at 405.608.4500.