Start with your user ID and password. Create a strong password with at least 8 characters that includes a combination of mixed case letters, numbers and special characters. Change your password frequently; never share it, and avoid using automatic login features that save usernames and passwords.
Generally, don’t use public or unsecured computers for online banking. Check your last login date and time each time you log in. Review balances and detail transactions along with transfer history on a regular basis. When possible, use Bill Pay instead of checks. Take advantage of system alerts and do not use account numbers, your social security number or other critical numbers when creating account nicknames or other titles.
To protect online payments and account data, take advantage of transaction limits if this feature is available. Establish limits for monthly transactions at multiple levels. When you've completed any transaction, make sure you log off to close the connection with the financial organization’s computer.
- Do not open e-mail from unknown sources. Be suspicious of e-mails purporting to be from a financial institution, government department, or other agency requesting account information, account verification, or banking access credentials such as usernames, passwords, PIN codes, and similar information. Opening file attachments or clicking on web links in suspicious e-mails could expose your system to malicious code that could hijack your computer.
- Never respond to a suspicious e-mail or click on any hyperlink embedded in a suspicious e-mail. Call the purported source if you are unsure who sent an e-mail.
- If an e-mail claiming to be from your financial organization seems suspicious, checking with your financial organization may be appropriate.
- Install anti-virus and spyware detection software on all computer systems. Free software may not provide protection against the latest threats compared with an industry standard product.
- Update all of your computers regularly with the latest versions and patches of both anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
- Ensure computers are patched regularly, particularly operating system and key application with security patches.
- Install a dedicated, actively managed firewall, especially if using a broadband or dedicated connection to the Internet, such as DSL or cable. A firewall limits the potential for unauthorized access to your network and computers.
- Check your settings and select, at least, a medium level of security for your browsers.
- Clear the browser cache before starting an online banking session in order to eliminate copies of Web pages that have been stored on the hard drive. How the cache is cleared depends on the browser and version you are using. This function is generally found in the browser's preferences menu.
If you use a wireless network, it is recommended that it be secured as follows:
- Change the wireless network hardware (router / access point) administrative password from the factory default to a complex password. Save the password in a secure location as it will be needed to make future changes to the device.
- Disable remote administration of the wireless network hardware (router / access point).
- If possible, disable broadcasting the network SSID.
- If your device offers WPA encryption, secure your wireless network by enabling WPA encryption of the wireless network. If your device does not support WPA encryption, enable WEP encryption.
- If only known computers will access the wireless network, consider enabling MAC filtering on the network hardware. Every computer network card is assigned a unique MAC address. MAC filtering will only allow computers with permitted MAC addresses access to the wireless network.