Internet safety tips: New trends in cybersecurity

When it comes to internet safety, you’re probably already familiar with the basics. But as data breaches become more common, it is important to take advantage of newer security measures to help boost your privacy and safety. Multiple layers of security can help safeguard your information better than any one option, so consider these more sophisticated techniques to help protect yourself online and on your mobile device.

Biometrics

In recent years, biometrics have become increasingly present in everyday life—fingerprint readers and facial identification on smartphones, voice recognition software in at-home smart speakers, gait recognition based on the way you walk and even how you interact with your devices (called heuristics or behavioral biometrics).

Unlike written passwords, which can be used by anyone, biometrics are unique to you by nature: A fingerprint, for example, is difficult to duplicate. Behavioral biometrics are also gaining steam. Device usage, error patterns and signature analysis are just a few examples of this next-generation technology. When given the option, it may be wise to substitute a written password with biometric technology for stronger security. For example, Bank of America® clients may be able to sign in to the Mobile Banking app using their fingerprint, depending on their device.

Learn more about Mobile and Online Banking at Bank of America.

What is two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication requires you to enter not only your username and password but also another piece of information such as a PIN or a one-time, time-sensitive code that is sent to your cell phone via text message. More websites, apps and webmail programs are offering two-factor authentication, and it is smart to opt in to get the extra layer of security.

Tip: Mobile phishing attacks are also on the rise, so it’s important to read every incoming text message carefully to ensure it’s not a phishing scam. If you do get a text from a number you don’t recognize, don’t reply or click any links in the message because they may lead to malicious websites that could try to harvest your credentials and personal information. Finally, make sure to block the phone numbers that send phishing messages.

More complex passwords

As identity theft continues to escalate, a strong, unique password is your first line of defense. Try to use more complex passwords that combine numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and symbols. Other best practices include:

  • Don’t save your password in your browser. Saving it there or in your computer’s keychain password management system can leave you vulnerable.
  • Don’t share your password. A 2016 survey by LastPass showed 95 percent of Americans shared their passwords; 43 percent shared their passwords for financial information.
  • Don’t use the same password for multiple sites, for example, for your online banking account and an e-commerce site.
  • Log out of password-protected sites. Also, exit the browser when you are done.

Since complex passwords can be challenging to remember, you might consider using an online password manager that stores all of your passwords in one place. While convenient, password manager websites can be compromised just like any other. So if you go this route, choose a well-reviewed password manager, change your master password often and keep an eye on reported security breaches.

Secure browsing experiences

Before sharing personal or financial information online, make sure the site is secure. More websites are using HTTPS encryption, but sites without the S in HTTPS are unencrypted and can be easy for others to access.

Tip: Double-check the URL of the website you’re visiting, since more advanced phishes are coming from sites that look secure yet aren’t. For example, a site may look and feel like the original website but have one different character in the URL, such as “O” instead of “0.” There is software available that will warn you if you accidentally visit a fake website that looks like the original.

Bank of America clients can take advantage of free online fraud protection software through Trusteer Rapport.

Router hardening

Home routers are being targeted for attacks more frequently, with a number of high-profile breaches in recent years. Attackers target routers to access other devices or information that is stored on the home network. Compromised routers can also host malware that can be used in other attacks. To help protect yourself, make sure the router’s administrator password is complex and unique and regularly update the firmware to help ensure any vulnerabilities are patched.

Try to keep up with the latest trends in cybersecurity, while always practicing computer and mobile safety basics. Your efforts could go a long way toward keeping your personal information and finances safe and secure.

Close Disclaimer
The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial or investment advice. Bank of America and/or its affiliates, and Khan Academy, assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional when making decisions regarding your financial or investment options.

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