How to protect your Financial Data from Cybercrime

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The Internet has made our lives easier. But with the speed and convenience that it brings into our lives, it also makes cybercrime increasingly common. Using the Internet, cybercriminals can access your personal and financial data. The cost of losing such sensitive information is very high. Although the nature of crimes varies from lottery scams to bullying, the banking and financial sector is the most targeted. During the lockdown imposed during the coronavirus pandemic, people are shifting to the Internet for their financial activities. But as more and more data gets put on the Internet, it is easier for criminals to access it. Hence, now, more than ever is the time to be vigilant and protect ourselves from these malicious attacks. Here are 7 ways to protect your financial data from cybercrime:

1. Use unique passwords

Though it may be more convenient to remember one password, do not use the same password for multiple websites. It can jeopardize all your data with just one password. Further, ensure your passwords are unique and strong, with uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and symbols.

2. Protect your passwords

Keep changing passwords for your online bank services regularly. Follow the same rule for your PINs. While typing in passwords, PINs or any private information, make sure no one around is watching.Do not share your passwords with anyone, even those close to you. Additionally, do not save these passwords on your browser or elsewhere on your device. If you have trouble remembering them, save them on a device that is not connected to the internet, like an old laptop or phone. 

3. Ensure a 2-Factor Authentication (2FA)

2FA is an additional layer of security to protect a system, over and above your password. It increases the security of your accounts online by asking for 2 types of information from the user, such as a password or PIN, email address, mobile number, or any other piece of information private to the user. Users may be at a greater risk of compromising their passwords than they think. Using 2FA can prevent unauthorized users from accessing your sensitive data with nothing more than your password.

4. Do not use public Wi-Fi to access personal data

Avoid using unprotected or public Wi-Fi to access your private and sensitive data, as it can be easily accessed by anyone else on the same Wi-Fi. Only use websties that have ‘HTTPS’ security. The ’S’ stands for secure, which means your data is protected.

5. Use Anti-virus software and Personal Firewall software

These softwares can prevent your device from cybercrime attacks. They protect you from virus, malware, phishing and many other threats. They will alert you when they find a risk of an attack and prevent you from going further. Cybersecurity tools can also encrypt personal data, which provides further protection.

6. Keep your software updated

Hackers and criminals often use loopholes in the system to gain access to your devices and accounts. So it is best to keep your operating software and browsers up-to-date. Fixing the flaws can prevent cybercrime attacks.

7. Beware of fraudulent activities

Do not, at any cost, provide financial data on any fraudulent websites or on phone calls. Banks will never ask for information such as CVV, OTPs, bank account number, or any private information over mail or on the phone. These attempts might seem convincing, but beware. If anyone asks you to provide such details, do not engage with them, and report the matter to your bank. Don’t open any attachments, links or messages from your bank unless you are 100% confident of its authenticity. You can always call them up for confirmation.

The internet is a dangerous place. But this does not mean we can stop using it altogether. If we exercise reasonable caution while using the net, we can avoid being a victim of cybercrime. 

As the old adage goes, “Prevention is better than cure“. Protect yourself from harm, rather than waiting until after the attack to take action. The best way to avoid cybercrime is to be proactive in protecting yourself and your data. Be aware of the different scams that take place, and know what to do if you are attacked. Review your financial statements regularly, and contact your bank immediately if you find something wrong. Educate your friends and family, specially children, on the severity of cybercrime and how they can protect themselves.

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