With online banking, transferring funds, paying bills, and monitoring expenses has become simpler, requiring just a few clicks. However, there are concerns regarding the safety of online banking.
Despite the rise in cybersecurity threats globally, online banking remains highly secure. Financial institutions utilize various advanced security and monitoring methods to safeguard both your information and assets. So, what are the primary security measures that online banking systems employ to ensure the safety of your digital banking experience?
Data Encryption Tech
The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council of the United States mandates that financial institutions encrypt data while in storage and transit. All banks must utilize end-to-end encryption (E2EE), which translates all information into an unreadable sequence of numbers before transmitting it over the internet.
Encryption shields users from various cyberattacks, particularly man-in-the-middle attacks. Banks employ a variety of powerful cryptographic algorithms, including DES, IDEA, RC4, and others. Nonetheless, the industry standard for bank-level encryption is 256-bit AES encryption, which is deemed unbreakable, even in a hundred years or by the swiftest computer.
Cybercriminals target Personally Identifiable Information (PII), including credit card numbers, passwords, names, and addresses. To safeguard your information, online banking systems employ a public key and private key encryption exchange. These keys are exclusively accessible to you and the bank, enabling only the two parties to decrypt the data.
Upon accessing the bank’s website or mobile banking platform, the session is encrypted through the use of the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol. This ensures that no one else can intercept your session activity or access the information stored in your bank account.
Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI)
According to a study by Imperva, financial institutions encountered a 30 percent rise in Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks from 2019 to 2020. Banks face ongoing threats from DDoS attacks, business email compromise attacks, phishing attempts, and ransomware.
Financial institutions utilize a proactive technology called Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI) to detect both ongoing and emerging cyber threats to their assets. This system includes various operations, such as collecting, processing, and analyzing data from an organization. It can provide information on the significant characteristics of potential bank cyberattacks and the primary cyber trends affecting the global financial sector.
To decrease the risk of operational disruption and both internal and external damage, financial institutions implement infrastructure security. Their infrastructure is fortified with advanced technologies such as firewalls, vulnerability scanners, log collectors, and intrusion detection systems.
This security covers both hardware and software. Firewalls scrutinize incoming and outgoing traffic to prevent unauthorized access to the bank’s private network. The firewall uses filters based on IP address, service request, and bank-defined rules to prevent malicious software installation by attackers.
In addition, banks utilize User Behavior Analytics (UBA) technology to prevent insider attacks by cybercriminals or employees. UBA examines data sets to detect unusual system activity, such as double logins and access from multiple locations. This technology makes it easier to identify compromised accounts.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Financial institutions widely implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) not only for customers but also in their core banking systems and application databases. Passwords and PINs are no longer sufficient as they can be compromised and shared with third parties. Therefore, banks frequently provide their employees with password-free MFA solutions to enhance security.
Biometric authentication is considered the most secure method of MFA as it verifies a unique feature of the user such as their fingerprint, voice, palm print, or iris scan. The system recognizes the user’s identity by matching the biometrics, and if they don’t match, access is denied. Unlike One-Time Passwords (OTP), biometric information cannot be stolen even if someone has access to or possession of the user’s device.
Antivirus and Anti-Malware Protection
Banks use multiple antivirus programs to identify and prevent viruses from infiltrating their computer networks. These antivirus software programs are capable of recognizing and removing sophisticated threats such as ransomware and infected attachments. The software also provides information about the virus’s malware family, version, variant, and specific risk score.
This information is then passed on to the security team, who can take action to resolve the issue and reduce the amount of time the malware has to dwell within the system. It is critical that financial institutions keep their antivirus software updated and maintained since outdated versions may not be able to detect the most recent virus signature. Inadequate antivirus software can also fail to detect certain types of malware.
Don’t worry, be happy
Thanks to the security measures implemented by banks, your assets, personal information, and transactions are secure when conducted online. However, hackers are constantly developing new methods to carry out their malicious activities, so the need for stronger security measures in banks will continue to grow.
It is equally important for you to take responsibility for the security of your bank account by regularly monitoring it and remaining vigilant for any signs of suspicious activity.