What should I do to ensure safe and secure online banking?

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The hints and tips below are intended as a general guide rather than an exhaustive list of rules. 

Never write down your password or PIN

A secure password should ideally contain capital and small letters, numbers and at least one “special character” (like !@#$%). It should also be at least 8 characters long. Please don’t write down your password for Viva Wallet (or any other financial institution). You shouldn’t store it directly on your computer without the use of a trustworthy password management application such as LastPass. If your computer was stolen, your password could be compromised and reused.

Phishing – be wary of bogus texts and emails

Phishing remains one of the most common attack vectors. With this type of threat, attackers send out fake emails that resemble secure messages from real banks. The email usually includes a link to a spoof website that looks almost indistinguishable from the real deal. When you enter your login details on the site, you’re inadvertently sending your most confidential login credentials directly into nefarious hands. Alternatively, the email may include an attachment that appears to be an important document. When opened, the attachment installs malicious software on your system.

While it’s now common practice for financial institutions and other service providers (e.g., mobile phone companies) to interact with business customers via SMS, it’s important to look out for malicious texts (phishing messages) that pretend to be sent by your bank.

We recommend that you avoid clicking on links in emails or text messages that seem suspicious. Neither Viva Wallet nor any other reputable business will ever ask you for your mobile number, password, merchant ID or IBAN by email or text message. If you’re ever in doubt, please contact customer support before you proceed.

We also advise that you double check how you’ve typed a web address. Criminals often operate websites named for well-known sites, but with small typos. The sites often look like the originals but are designed solely to capture your credentials.

Pharming – an extension of phishing

Pharming is a scamming practice in which malicious code is installed on a personal computer or server, misdirecting users to fraudulent websites without their knowledge or consent. Pharming has been called "phishing without a lure."

Be careful about or avoid altogether computers with public access

Although it can be seen as a great boon, public Wi-Fi has many disadvantages. Not only is it usually slow, but it sometimes doesn’t provide a secure internet connection. When a hacker taps into public Wi-Fi, they can see everything, including your bank account login. However, encrypted webpages can save you from the prying eyes of hackers. Check if your bank’s URL starts with “https://” not “http://” The “s” tells you that the page is safe to use. Viva Wallet’s banking app uses https in both demo and live mode, and within the mobile app as well as desktop app. Even if a page has encryption, it’s still advantageous to avoid public Wi-Fi altogether. Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or utilizing your cellular network to access the internet is far better when dealing with online banking. If you really want to play it safe, just access your account from your home Wi-Fi.

Update your software

Many attacks rely on exploiting security flaws in a piece of software. To fix these vulnerabilities, developers release updates that bolster the security of their application. Minimise the risk of becoming a victim of a banking attack by always keeping your software up to date. Enable automatic updates where possible.

Protect your computer

Whatever you use the internet for it is vital that you take a few basic steps to ensure that your computer is protected against the latest threats. Protect your computer by using up-to-date anti-virus software and doing regular scans of your computer to check for viruses. You may also wish to install a personal firewall as well as downloading the latest security updates for your web browser and operating system.

The three essential steps to shield your computer are:

  • use anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date on a regular basis
  • install and learn how to use a personal firewall.
  • download the latest security updates for your web browser and operating system.

Most operating systems and internet browsers already come with various security features such as firewalls, automatic security updates and website filters. You should enable these security features. You should also consider installing additional security tools, designed to provide your computer with extra protection, such as anti-spyware and browser security software. None of these tools alone can guarantee 100% protection all of the time but together they will considerably reduce the chances of your computer becoming infected and fraudsters capturing your sensitive information.