Online banking has made our lives easier by making it easy to transfer funds, pay bills and keep track of your expenses with just a few clicks. But is online banking really safe?
Online banking is very secure despite the increase in cyber security threats around the world. Banks use various advanced security and surveillance technologies to protect your information and your assets. So what are the key security measures that online banking systems implement to ensure that your digital banking experience is secure?
1. Data-encryption Technologies
Financial institutions must encrypt data in storage and in transit, as required by the United States Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council. Every bank must use end-to-end encryption (E2EE), which converts all data into a string of unreadable numbers before it is sent over the Internet.
Encryption protects users from a wide range of cyber attacks, primarily man-in-the-middle attacks. Banks use a range of strong cryptographic algorithms, such as DES, IDEA, RC4, and others. However, 256-bit AES encryption—which is believed to be unbreakable even in a hundred years or so by the fastest computers—is the industry standard for bank-level encryption.
Hackers are after your personally identifiable information (PII), including your credit card numbers, passwords, addresses, and even your name. Your data is sent using public key and private key encryption exchange. These keys are only available to you and the bank, so only the two of you can decrypt the data.
When you log in to the Bank’s website or mobile banking system, the session is encrypted using the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol. That way, no one else can snoop on your session activity or the information stored in your bank account.
2. Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI)
A study by Imperva found that financial institutions experienced a 30 percent increase in Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks between 2019 and 2020. DDoS attacks, business email compromise attacks, phishing attempts and ransomware are all constant threats to banks.
Financial services use a proactive technique called Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI) to proactively identify ongoing and emerging cyber threats to their assets. A threat intelligence system involves a number of operations, such as collecting, processing, and analyzing data from within an organization. It can provide insight into key symptoms of potential bank cyber attacks and even key cyber trends affecting the global financial sector.
The data is presented to relevant senior levels, such as IT management, to address current threats and prevent future data breaches. In case of a data breach, a threat intelligence system enables banks to act quickly and efficiently as well as recover the compromised data.
3. Secure infrastructure
Infrastructure security reduces the overall risk of operational disruption, as well as internal and external damage. The banks’ infrastructure is equipped with several state-of-the-art technologies, which include firewalls, vulnerability scanners, log collectors and intrusion detection systems.
This infrastructure is secure at both the hardware and software levels. Firewall filters incoming and outgoing traffic to prevent unauthorized access to the Bank’s private network. The traffic is filtered according to IP addresses, service requests and even filters pre-defined by the bank. Firewall can prevent malicious software from being installed on the bank’s computers by an attacker.
In addition, banks use User Behavior Analytics (UBA) technology to avoid insider attacks by cyber criminals or workers. By analyzing data sets to find unusual system activity such as double logins, access from multiple locations, and more, UBA makes it easy to detect hacked accounts.
4. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Measures
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) isn’t just available to you. In fact, financial institutions have it everywhere, especially in their core banking systems and application databases. Banks no longer use passwords and PINs because passwords can be shared with third parties. As a result, most MFA solutions provided by banks to their employees are usually password-free.