How to Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
Whenever you access your online bank account, you pass your username and password for that account over the Internet. Banks are very careful to ensure the security of your account information so that no one else can find out what it is, but there is a way to go a step beyond banking level security to ensure that your pockets are even safer.
PocketGuard and similar financial amalgamation solutions go beyond bank-level security in two ways: first they use the same level SSL encryption that banks use to ensure that your financial information is as secure as possible when it is flying digitally across the world, and second, they only allow read access to your banking information so that in the event of a security breach, your accounts and your money are still safe.
For the first point, every online bank uses a secure SSL connection whenever you want to access your accounts. It is the industry standard for sensitive information. Movie and TV shows try to scare you into thinking that hackers can simply crack your password with a few tricky moves and some know-how, but in reality that is virtually impossible to do by simply accessing the bank website using a laptop.
So what is SSL encryption? It is a protocol (a standardized way for computers to talk to each other) that essentially does 2 things for you:
1. It ensures that you are actually visiting your bank’s website.
2. It ensures that no one else can see the information from the bank’s website.
Both of these are very important when dealing with sensitive banking information.
The first item, ensuring that you visiting your bank website, is very important. A common tactic that a hacker can use is called a “man in the middle attack.” This is when a hacker makes your computer connect to a website that is not your bank’s real website.
For example, if you type in bankofamerica.com and your computer goes to a different website that looks just like your bank, but it is located somewhere else. You type in your username and password to get into your account, but you actually have logged into their computer, and now they have your banking username and password.
Obviously this would be a very serious situation and can easily happen if you carelessly access your banking website from a public wi-fi access point.
To ensure that this doesn’t happen, just look at the top of your browser when you entered your bank’s Url. If you go to the Bank of America website, you will see that the URL says https://www.bankofamerica.com/ and that the “https: is in green letters. This means that you can be 100% sure that you are actually connected to the Bank of America computers. Even using public wi-fi, you know you are talking to the right computer on the other end.
If you get an error or message when visiting a bank’s website, read the message! Don’t just click “okay.” If it says that they can not verify that you actually visiting the website that you think you are, believe them! It may not be their site. Don’t enter the site. Don’t type in your username and password. Close your browser and trying again when you are at home or using another trusted network.
The second thing that SSL security does is it makes sure that no one can eavesdrop on your data that is being sent. Your passwords and information are secured as long as you can see the “https” written in green letters with your website.
This level of SSL security is standard across all online banking websites. But most security breaches that happen are not from man-in-the-middle attacks like this. Bank info security’s report indicated that the number one cause of security breaches was that banking apps were storing sensitive information on their smartphones that could then be accessed by someone if their phone was lost or stolen.
PocketGuard takes security one step further than banking apps by only using read-access for their accounts. Even if your phone was lost or stolen, you could be sure that no one could access your banking passwords or be able to transfer money from your accounts.
These advantages, coupled with the convenience of being able to access all your bank accounts and credit cards from different institutions in a single locations all work together to make sure that your pocket is more guarded when all your eggs are in one basket.
Featured image credit: GRATISOGRAPHY