Banks Need You To Be Responsibly Secure

Our culture deemphasizes individual responsibility. In my mind, life begins when you begin taking responsibility for everything in your life. Personal security is fundamentally your own responsibility and, while you may not be responsible for a crime happening to you, you are the one in the best position to prevent it.

In the last decade, as much as 80% of all banking has taken place online, a major change after hundreds of years of traditional banking. Online banking is all about convenience. It has become apparent that these conveniences of technology have outpaced consumers’ security intelligence. It is possible to secure systems in a way that will defeat most online criminal activity, but that level of security comes with inconveniences that the consumer may not be equipped to handle.

Doug Johnson, the American Bankers Association VP of risk-management policy, explains, “The banking industry wants consumers to monitor their online accounts for unauthorized transactions on a continuous, almost daily, basis. That’s because PCs and smartphones have become the online bank branch for a lot of individuals. The customer needs to really recognize that security is most effective when they work in partnership with their financial institution.”

While banks are fighting their own battles to combat fraud and account takeover, it is imperative that the banks’ customers adhere to security fundamentals.

  • Set your computer’s operating system to update critical security patches automatically.
  • Make sure your firewall is turned on and protecting traffic from both directions.
  • Always run antivirus software, and set it to update virus definitions automatically.
  • Use a protected wireless network.
  • Never click links within the body of an email. Instead, go to your favorites menu or type the address into the address bar.
  • Check your online bank statements frequently.

McAfee Identity Protection includes proactive identity surveillance to monitor subscribers’ credit and personal information, as well as access to live fraud resolution agents. For additional tips, visit

Robert Siciliano is a McAfee consultant and identity theft expert. See him discuss online banking security on CBS Boston. (Disclosures)