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Can viruses empty my bank account?

With the growth in popularity and use of online banking, questions have been raised concerning exactly how secure the process is for those using it. Computer security is incredibly important when dealing with personal finances and ensuring that you have adequate protection against malicious software should be a priority.

In terms of keeping yourself safe, make sure that you are accessing the official website for your bank account and that you haven’t been re-routed at any point. It is also worth bearing in mind that your bank will never contact you asking for personal information related to your account, so always be wary of emails which ask you to provide this.


Can viruses actually take my money?

Whether or not a virus could empty your bank account depends on a number of factors, but it is certainly theoretically possible and has happened in the past. The most common cyber attack of this sort operates by infecting the chosen computer with a virus which lies dormant until the user logs into their bank account.

One of the most common forms of these viruses is keylogger viruses . These record all the key strokes made by the user and tricks them into providing account information, such as the username and password, for the online banking system. This information can be used to access the account at a later date, with those hacking the account potentially able to transfer money or authorise payments.

Thankfully, online banks have made every effort to improve the security of their services. This means that users are now typically required to go through various stages when logging in to their account, making it harder for unauthorised parties to gain access to your information.

Those attempting to transfer money to other accounts may also find that a telephone service is now used to provide an authorisation code for the transfer. The transaction cannot be completed without this information and only the contact number on record can be used in this service.


How can I protect myself from this threat?

Firstly, having efficient and regularly updated antivirus and antispyware software will allow you to screen downloaded content and incoming communications for anything that may damage your system. Make sure such software is sourced from a reputable company, such as Trend Micro, as many pop-ups offering software online are merely fronts for viruses and spyware.

Secondly, make sure that you have your Firewall switched on and fully operational. This is your first line of defence against many forms of malware and helps to make you more invisible on the Internet by blocking incoming communication from unauthorised sources. There will be plenty of options to calibrate when making sure your Firewall is properly working, so take the time to make sure it is running at its best.

Finally, it is well worth looking into software that deals with a keylogger contamination. Keylogger software is specific surveillance software which records and logs every single key stroke made by the user. Trend Micro offer great software packages that will keep you protected and insulated from the possibility of keylogger contamination.

Such software is included in packages such as Titanium Internet Security and Titanium Maximum Security, but will only work at its best if you ensure that your Internet browser is up-to-date.

Lastly, when dealing with your online financial security, the best antivirus and antispyware software won’t help you if you don’t use common sense. Be careful with your personal information and make sure you are aware of exactly who has access to it.


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