Earlier this month the American Bankers Association (ABA) issued practical, simple advice which could dramatically enhance everyone’s online banking security. But it won’t help unless you actually do it…
The advice is to have a PC dedicated to online banking. If you weigh the convenience and cost savings of having access to online banking, versus time spent on the phone or traveling to and from a bank to conduct your business, the expense of a PC dedicated to this task, to continue to enable online banking, will likely be recouped within a matter of weeks, if not days.
The three arguments I’ve heard against this are:
- We don’t have enough money in the bank for anyone to want to hack it. (Or, “no one is interested in us because we’re too small.“)
Then it sounds like you have everything to lose! Isn’t it more important to protect what assets you have, regardless of size?
- We’re protected by our bank’s security.
No, you’re not. Bank websites get hacked frequently. Don’t believe me? Just do a Google search on the subject. Furthermore, the banks are not required to refund your money! You do not have the same protections as you do with credit cards on bank accounts. Finally, it’s not usually the bank that gets hacked – it’s your computer.
- We can’t afford the expense.
The cost of a lightweight PC dedicated to this task is most likely lower than most of my clients’ electric bill, heating bill, or liability insurance for one month. You can afford the cost. But can you afford getting hacked and having your assets drained?
This is the same advice we gave on this blog last year. It’s sound. It’s simple. It’s cheap. Get a new netbook for a couple hundred dollars and use that for online banking. Is this not worth the risk of your business losing tens of thousands of dollars from its bank account? Please, if you do online banking at home or at work, at the very least, practice it from a non-Windows computer not running Internet Explorer. Better yet, prove me wrong and get a cheap PC and dedicate it to your online banking needs. Never go to any website other than your bank’s with it. Another alternative would be to boot from a live CD of your favorite Linux distribution, such as my favorite, Ubuntu.