A majority of internet users use the online banking facility. Accessing accounts to spot fraudulent transactions is now easy, or so it seems. According to a research most of the bank sites have inbuilt flaws which could potentially put valuable customer data into the wrong hands. Though it is the sole decision of the financial institution to determine the level of firewalls employed to safeguard customer information, there are some basic rules which any online bank user should use to protect personal information and finances. Some of these general rules are mentioned as under: Websites starting with URLs such as “https://” are more secure than website URLs starting with “http://”. Especially when using passwords and PIN numbers one should look out for the extra ’s’ in the URL. If the URL is followed by the name of your bank or financial institution, it is a feature that authenticates the genuineness of the site. URLs followed by a ‘host’ name should be considered unsafe. Security indicators such as padlock and lock icons do not guarantee complete security and scammers now-a-days are able to duplicate such icons. Passwords and user Ids should be a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Also the length of passwords should be more than adequate (8 or more is sufficient). Using common sense and not replying to any email claiming to be from the bank to provide passwords or information to update the accounts. Last but not the least, as far as possible avoid accessing bank accounts through internet cafe, or terminals at airports or railway stations.
Failing to secure your Web browser can encourage unscrupulous hackers to easily take control of your PC. By not securing your Web browser, you are opening up your PC to spyware and adware programs, viruses, and other attacks with malicious intent.
About Vulnerable Web Browsers
Most Web browser software comes pre-installed on your PC’s operating system. The common Web browsers are Internet Explorer, Apple Safari, and Mozilla Firefox. The fact that there are three popular types make it easier for hackers to focus on vulnerabilities and then exploit them with malicious software attacks.
Malicious attacks take advantage of the following:
A lot of Web surfers neglect to configure their Web browser security settings or do not understand how to do this.
Many users view enabling and disabling certain functions as a hassle so they do not take these security measures.
The average Web surfer clicks on ads and links without thinking about the reputation of the website or the consequences of their clicking habits.
Web browser users tend to concentrate on all of the advantages that are highlighted by the Web browser creator and do not consider what effect these improvements have on the overall security.
New PCs with Web browsers pre-installed usually contain other types of software bundled together. Although the software seems like a good deal, the PC user does not realize that the additional software increases the vulnerabilities to attacks.
Many websites encourage the download of added tools to enhance the browsing experience such as Plug-Ins, Java, ActiveX, and other related software. While these tools enhance the browsing experience, they also increase the vulnerability of your Web browser.
New vulnerabilities are always discovered once a Web browser has been released to the public. Until there is an upgrade to counteract the problem, the Web browser is vulnerable and open to software attack.
These are only a few reasons why you should secure your Web browser. The process of configuring your browser security features is rather simple to accomplish and well worth the investment of a few minutes of your time.
Due to the explosion of the Internet, attacking the vulnerabilities in Web browsers has become one of the most popular ways for intruders to take over your computer, steal your identity and passwords, spy on your surfing habits, and in the worst cases, destroy your computer altogether.
What information is collected?
When you visit a website, a certain amount of information is automatically sent to the site. This information may include the following:
- IP address – Each computer on the internet is assigned a specific, unique IP (internet protocol) address. Your computer may have a static IP address or a dynamic IP address. If you have a static IP address, it never changes. However, some ISPs own a block of addresses and assign an open one each time you connect to the internet—this is a dynamic IP address. You can determine your computer’s IP address at any given time by visiting www.showmyip.com.
- domain name – The internet is divided into domains, and every user’s account is associated with one of those domains. You can identify the domain by looking at the end of URL; for example, .edu indicates an educational institution, .gov indicates a US government agency, .org refers to organization, and .com is for commercial use. Many countries also have specific domain names. The list of active domain names is available from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).
- software details – It may be possible for an organization to determine which browser, including the version, that you used to access its site. The organization may also be able to determine what operating system your computer is running.
- page visits – Information about which pages you visited, how long you stayed on a given page, and whether you came to the site from a search engine is often available to the organization operating the website.
How can you limit the amount of information collected about you?
- Be careful supplying personal information – Unless you trust a site, don’t give your address, password, or credit card information. Look for indications that the site uses SSL to encrypt your information. Although some sites require you to supply your social security number (e.g., sites associated with financial transactions such as loans or credit cards), be especially wary of providing this information online.
- Limit cookies – If an attacker can access your computer, he or she may be able to find personal data stored in cookies. You may not realize the extent of the information stored on your computer until it is too late.
- Browse safely – Be careful which websites you visit; if it seems suspicious, leave the site. Also make sure to take precautions by increasing your security, keeping your virus definitions up to date, and scanning your computer for spyware.
Image source : RHIC News