Is your internet banking safe?


Today morning when I open the newspaper, first news on front page was related to an E-fraud !!! A person from my colony has lost Rs 1 crore in just 45 minutes. Cyber criminals have used his internet bank details and transferred the amount through 12 small transactions. The victim was helplessly reading the transaction messages coming to his cell phone. This is not an unique or rare fraudulent transaction, this is becoming a common thing in era of cyber world & internet bankingWho’s responsible?……. Yes, you are correct – main responsibility lies with us only.

Every facility which has increased the comfort in our life and reduced the distance & time, need to be used carefully and responsibly. Few examples are – Electricity, automobile, cooking gas etc. Cyber world is not an exception because it has significant impact on our comfort level in life. Today you can order food, transfer money, book ticket and many other things without moving outside your bedroom just because of internet banking revolution. So, just like electricity it also required to be used very carefully and safely otherwise you may get a ‘shock of your life’.


To perform internet transactions (especially monetary) we need to create an identity on this cyber world, which contains many crucial information like PAN no, account no, address, personal details, PIN, credit card number etc. Since this identity is online, it’s easy for fraudsters to steal or misuse it. Here are some facts related to cyber frauds: (collected from different reports)

  1. Most commonly used passwords are ‘password’ and ‘123456’. 1 in 5 people use these as their password.
  2. ‘BusinessWeek’ says a 6 character password (just letters) can be cracked in just 10 minutes.
  3. A 8 letter lower case password can be cracked in 2 hrs.
  4. Rs. 1.05 lakh is the average financial loss that a victim of a cyber crime suffers.
  5. Every second, 18 adults become a victim of cyber crime.
  6. 15 percent of social network users reported someone had hacked into their profile and pretended to be them.
  7. 1 in 10 social network users said they’d fallen victim to a scam or fake link on social network platforms.

Common methods used by the hackers to breach online information and bank accounts :

  • Phishing : Most common in banking hacking. In such cases an email from seemingly reliable and known source will direct you to a link seeking update or validation of user information . These fake e-mail messages, which look very real sometimes, to con you into giving up credit card, bank and other sensitive financial and personal information. Once you give it up they proceed to clean you out and/or steal your identity and run up crores of rupees worth of debt in your name.
  • Pharming : A domian is hijacked by the fraudster, who then steals the data of any user who accesses the website. In Pharming, a virus/program attacks the DNS cache and modifies the entries there so that the user is automatically led to a fraudulent website without him knowing it. Then user is asked for his login & password which is recorded for swindle.
  • Vishing : A fraudster pretend to call up from your bank or service provider claiming to need your personal details because they are upgrading or updating you data.
  • Skimming :  The act of stealing a person’s credit card information on an electronic device and transferring the information to a different card. It may occur during a normal business transaction. For example, if one uses a credit card to make a purchase, the person handling the card may surreptitiously swipe the card through another electronic device that copies the information contained on it. The skimmer then transfers the information to another card.
  • Smishing :  The name is derived from “SMs phISHING”. SMS (Short Message Service) is the technology used for text messages on cell phones. You will receive a text message on your mobile phone informing you of a service that you have signed up for or stopped. If you click on the link provided or call the number given, you will be told that you can proceed only after providing essential information such as your credit/debit card number, CVV code (on the back of your credit card), your ATM card PIN, SSN, email address, and other personal information.
  • Malware : Malware, short form of malicious software, is software designed to secretly access a computer system without the owner’s informed consent. 
  • Shoulder Surfing :  Shoulder surfing refers to using direct observation techniques, such as looking over someone’s shoulder, to get information. Shoulder surfing is particularly effective in crowded places because it is relatively easy to observe someone as they: fill out a form, enter their PIN at an ATM or a POS terminal, enter passwords at a cybercafe, public and university libraries, or airport kiosks. Shoulder surfing can also be done at a distance using binoculars or other vision-enhancing devices. Inexpensive, miniature closed-circuit television cameras can be concealed in ceilings, walls or fixtures to observe data entry
  • Keylogging : In this method a software is used which tracks your keystrokes and records them so that a hacker can go back later and see what sites you visited, what information you submitted and more. Keyloggers are primarily used on public computers such as cyber cafes. Keyloggers work invisibly in the background and are impossible to detect without security software.

How to Protect Yourself?Laptoplock

Following are ways to be vigilant and safeguard your critical information :

  1. Never access your bank account at cyber cafe or shared computer.
  2. Use virtual keyboards (provided with all the bank or financial websites) to input your passwords.
  3. Change your passwords frequently and use different ones for different sites.
  4. Your e-banking password should be sufficiently long and use mixture of upper case & lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Avoid easy-to-guess passwords, like first names, birthdays and telephone numbers
  5. Logout from the site if you are not using them, don’t just close the portals.
  6. Don’t opt for ‘auto save’ to store user name or password. Disable ‘auto complete’ on your browser.
  7. Don’t click on any link in an email even it appears to be from your bank. Instead, type the bank URL manually in the address bar of your browser before making any transaction.
  8. Check SSL (Secure Socket Layer) security on login page of the bank website.                         like – ” https://netbanking.??????.com”.  The ‘s’ after ‘http’ denotes that the website in secure.
  9. Always use reputed anti-virus and update it reguarly.
  10. Never respond emails that ask you to update your bank account details. It may be an attemp of ‘Phishing’.
  11. Avoid posting personal details on social networking sites and regularly check the privacy setting.
  12. Don’t store bank pin, password or personal details in cell phone. Install password for your phone.
  13. Ensure that you shred all the financial correspondence after reading, don’t throw it anywhere.
  14. Tear your ATM slips and cancelled cheques before throwing them in trash.
  15. Don’t give your personal details no matter who calls you up. Better you call back to the customer service. 
  16. Before disposing your old gadgets, completely wipe out the memory or any data on it.
  17. Don’t open, run, install or use programmes or files obtained from a person or organisation you do not know or from someone who is not a reputed vendor. 


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8 Responses to Is your internet banking safe?

  1. Sumit kashyap says:

    Very useful and detailed. Thanks for sharing this critical bit of information

    • Hi Sumit…most of us know these things but then also we carelessly handle our cyber identity. Hope in coming days people will understand the importance. Help in spreading this awareness.

  2. Satya says:

    Well done, It’s really helpful for those guys, who are part of the Tech. world. Keep on sharing the useful info.

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