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online banking « ZolexPC Blog About Us - Remote Computer Support & Help | Zolex PC

Tips for Online Banking

Recently it was announced that a popular Banking Trojan known as Zeus or Zbot is specifically targeting Firefox users.   See the article from PC World here.


Many of us use Online Banking for it's convenience, accuracy, up to date transactions, and of course the money it saves on stamps.   It does have risks associated with it of course and if you do Online Banking then you need to protect yourself as best you can.    Here are a few tips you can use to protect yourself.

Strong Passwords are essential.   Having a strong password is one of the few things you can do to protect yourself.   See a previous blog entry on how to create a strong password that is easy to remember and difficult to guess.     http://www.zolexpc.com/zolex/blog/?p=87 An easy to guess password only makes the hackers job easier and faster.  It may not be a hacker but could be a jealous partner, or vindictive ex-girlfriend or boyfriend, so make those passwords strong and tough to guess.  The Banks have high security and encryption but you need to do your part as well.   Having a strong password is one way to contribute to that cause.

Another thing to do with Online Banking is check your transactions at the end of each week for anything that you don't recognize or appears suspicious.  The sooner you catch something malicious the less damage will be done.     Also be wary of emails from your bank asking you to provide or verify User name and Password information, unless you have recently required a Password change.    You can always call your bank to verify it before replying.      When it comes to Identity Theft or your Money better to be safe than sorry.

One issue that raises debate is going paperless with your banking statements.  The pros of this are if your house was broken into there would not be any statements listing your information with account numbers or names.   It could reduce your chances for Identity Theft.    It also reduces on paper for the bank, you and is good for the environment.   The only downside I see of this if not having additional physical records or extra back-up.    Having the paper back up could help you in dealing with any variety of banking issues.

Another critical component that relates to Online Banking is making sure your PC is infection free.   If your machine has an infection you should not be doing any Online Banking until the infection(s) have been removed.   There are infections that specifically target Bank User name and Passwords.    Doing Online Banking on an infected machine is asking for trouble for sure.   Make sure your Security Software is up to date and you have the latest Windows updates as well.  If your machine has a virus and you cannot get rid of it, you can always count on ZolexPC to remove it for you.

When it comes to Online Banking be sure to have a strong password, check your transaction history on a regular basis, and be wary of any emails asking for User Name and Password (unless requesting one).  This combined with a clean and healthy machine is your safest bet for Online Banking.   By doing these steps you can be assured that you are doing your part in protecting your interests while enjoying the benefits of Online Banking.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.




Are Your Passwords Secure?

When it comes to using Passwords, whether to log onto your PC or log into your email, you should take care to make your Password tough to crack.    Unfortunately coming up with complicated passwords that we remember can be difficult.  The easiest solution that I have found is to pick something very strange, it can be an object, book, character, radiator, milk jug, or anything, the more obscure the better.   Once you pick that, then add a couple of numbers that you know you won't forget and you should have a pretty tough password for someone to guess.   For example, if your password was   trashbag324.   Now mostly likely that name may strike a laugh with you which will help you remember it and who in their right mind would come up with a password like that.   Unless you are in the Waste Removal Industry this is not likely to be too many people's password.    The key is to remember it and make it stick.

If you work at a company that requires you to change your Password every few months, you can usually just pick another obscure word or phrase and add a few numbers to it.     filecabinet985 would be tough to guess.

Your Amazon.com password, your email password, your bank password are some of the many passwords we have to use and remember.    While it is very easy to use the same password for them all, it is quite risky.   A good solution is to make up about 3 passwords that you will remember, and assign them to different areas.   Maybe you have one for your banking and Amazon account.  Then another for your email, and Facebook.   If you do this you will have the  Security of tough passwords and only need to remember 3 Passwords as opposed to 10 different ones.   Simple but still Secure.    Having a password is recommended even if you are a single user and live alone.   If your PC was stolen or you would not want to have your PC or private Docs, pictures compromised.    Now I am realistic enough to know that most people who have one computer at home for themselves may not use a password.   It is an inconvenience but for security purposes it is the right thing to do.   If you have no password, and are having friends or your romantic partner, what is stop someone from going on your PC to see what is there?

If for any reason you suspect your password has been compromised, you should change it immediately.    If your machine contracts a virus or other malicious software, your passwords could be at risk.  While the chances are slim, it all depends on how infected your PC and what type of infection you have.   There are key-loggers and password-stealing programs out there.   This is one of the most important reasons to keep your Security Software up to date to give your machine the maximum protection.    Having a tough password on your home PC and Office PC is a good habit to practice.   We cannot avoid the future or more and more things being done online and needing passwords, so protect yourself as best you can while still being able to remember them.   The more characters and numbers the tougher it will be.   Just don' t make them so tough that you can't remember them.    If your password makes your laugh, you will be far more likely to remember it.   :)      As a final example:     horsehockey742

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.




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