In today's hyper-digitized age, the old-fashioned method of physically walking to your nearest bank to process a simple transaction seems to border on ridiculous. Ever since the advent of online banking in the 1980s, long gone are the days when you had to wait in queues to pay your bills or check the funds in your account.
All you need nowadays to make transfers and transactions is a handy mobile device, a Mac, or any other PC with an internet connection. You can conveniently fulfill all your banking needs, right from the comfort of your couch.
Despite the convenience that online banking offers, it does come with its fair share of security loopholes.
Online banking can never truly be a hundred percent secure since there's no possible way that banks and other financial institutions can circumvent every single threat that faces them.
Furthermore, as the number of individuals accessing online banking services continues to increase, it can be expected that the number of vulnerabilities surrounding financial institutions will undergo a similar growth.
Bearing witness to the arsenal of threats surrounding banks is that the cost of cyberattacks has reached a whopping $18.3 million annually per company. The numbers related to online banking fraud have doubled since 2010 - which only adds to the need for better cybersecurity within the online banking world.
Considering the skyrocketing number of threats and vulnerabilities encapsulating the online banking industry, it becomes apparent that there's absolutely no way traditional banking security techniques can prevent cybercriminals amidst the present-day threat landscape.
Exclusively relying on sophisticated passwords, multi-factor authentication, and regular surveillance isn't going to provide the same security level that it might have done a couple of years ago.
Fortunately, however, online banking customers can take their security into their own hands and protect their confidential data by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network), here is the quick guide.
To help our readers understand how a VPN ties in with online banking, we've compiled an article that focuses on answering the question that we've proposed in the title.
Before we can get into some of the reasons as to why you should use a VPN for online banking, let's have a look at some of the risks typically associated with online banking.
What are the Dangers Associated with Online Banking?
In order to fully grasp the significance of the use of a VPN for online banking, it is equally important that we understand the specific nature of the threats plaguing the internet banking world.
As the name "online banking" suggests, you need a wi-fi connection to utilize the convenience mobile banking offers. Typically, a sketchy wi-fi connection is the root cause of an arsenal of problems related to online banking.
An example is the wi-fi vulnerability known as 'Krack' (Key Reinstallation Attack) - which has targeted millions of victims in 2017 alone.
The existence of such a dangerous vulnerability, combined with the spike seen in finance-related crimes over the course of past years, had understandably led to many individuals questioning the security of online banking.
Furthermore, as cybercriminals adopt more sophisticated practices, they can gain access to confidential information, such as credit card details, passwords, and emails with surprising ease.
While you might be wondering whether you can do online banking with a VPN, staying in the know-how regarding the main types of attacks that mobile banking faces is only going to work in your favor.
Perhaps the most prevalent threat that plagues the security of online banking is phishing.
Phishing refers to the rather pesky tactic of manipulating a victim into clicking on a malicious link, which is usually hidden in the body of an email. Once you've clicked on the link, you'll be redirected to a suspicious-looking website, where you'll be tricked into entering your banking credentials, resulting in identity theft.
Similarly, if you access your bank's mobile application through a public wi-fi connection, there's also the possibility that you could become a victim of keylogging.
Keylogging refers to a malicious software keeping tabs on your keystrokes and then exploiting them to gain access to your bank account details.
In addition to phishing, identity theft, and keylogging, cybercriminals may also launch pharming attacks, which occur when malicious agents hijack a bank's URL.
If you're a victim of a pharming attack, whenever you try to access your bank's site, you'll get redirected to a decoy website that looks exactly like the real site but is, in reality, a ploy for cybercriminals to gain access to your banking credentials.
Why Should You Use a VPN for Online Banking?
"Can I do online banking with a VPN?" is perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions regarding online banking, and the simple answer is YES!
Although you might still be speculating about whether or not a free VPN is safe for online banking. Here are some reasons as to how a VPN provides an additional layer of security to your online banking:
1. Your confidential information remains confidential
The millions of users that engage in internet banking might be a bit more reluctant to enter their financial credentials on their bank's mobile application or website.
Fortunately enough, since most banks and financial institutions rely on HTTPS encryption, there's still a higher security level being offered to users. However, even with all HTTPS encryption being offered, there's still no guarantee that cybercriminals won't monitor your online banking activities.
To prevent malicious identities from gaining access to your confidential information, you can install a VPN, which basically provides another additional layer of encryption and security to all of the online transactions that you partake in.
Furthermore, another benefit to installing a VPN is that this encryption prevents your bank, your ISP, and hackers from snooping in on your mobile banking activities.
2. Hackers can't gain access to your banking application
A rather nefarious tactic that cybercriminals employ is launching attacks targeting mobile banking applications.
While that doesn't exactly mean that you're safe from cybercrimes while accessing your bank's website from your Mac computer, mobile devices are more prone to threats than PCs.
Although the bank does encrypt all the communication that takes place, it's always a good idea to install a VPN to double-check that every bit of your confidential data is protected and that cybercriminals don't find a way into your banking app.
3. You can access your bank account through a public Wi-Fi
As we've already mentioned above, accessing your bank account through a public wi-fi network is the root cause of several security problems.
Luckily, by installing a VPN, all your data undergoes military-grade encryption, so you won't have to worry about a hacker stealing your credentials.
Even if a cybercriminal somehow gains access to your information, installing a VPN on your device, such as your Mac (which is where you might want to consider getting a VPN for Mac), ensures that your data is rendered into gibberish, and is of no value to anyone sneaking in you.
Cybercriminals and malicious third-parties plague the interwebs and are always ready to exploit sensitive information for their financial gains.
Fortunately, installing a VPN can work wonders and equip banking customers to protect their identities during online banking.
With that being said, however, it is crucial that you invest in a reputable VPN, since a free VPN may actually do more harm than good!