Financial Institutions Beefing Up Security

If you have an IRA with one of the nation’s largest mutual fund companies, you likely received an email recently informing you of security enhancements to your account.

The company added new protocols for changing passwords, to further ensure that identity thieves can’t take control of accounts. This follows recent changes that allow customers to create more robust passwords.

And they’re not alone. One of the nation’s largest banks touts a security feature that utilizes single-use, 6-digit pass codes.

Financial institutions are upping their security following high profile breaches over the past two years that involved not only retailers, such as Target and Home Depot, but also JP Morgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank in terms of assets. That breach affected 76 million households and 7 million small businesses.

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These breaches have made consumers increasingly savvy, demanding better security from companies. Cyber security has become a selling point for institutions as more customers bank through apps.

Ryan Wilk, director of customer success at a cyber security company, told BankTech that he expects customer account takeover attacks will increase this year as the techniques of crooks improve. "They're very sophisticated around how they test accounts to get in, and you can buy pre-tested account usernames and passwords now."

If you bank online, consider these precautions:

  1. Enroll in account alerts for electronic fund transfers, deposits, and more - you'll know immediately when money is being transferred out of your account. If you didn't initiate the transaction, you can take immediate action.
  2. Update your email address and account profile - your financial institution may be trying to alert you of a problem, but if your contact information is out-of-date, you'll never know.

  3. Review your statements regularly - it only takes a few minutes, but looking at transactions lets you know if anything is amiss.

  4. Download the latest anti-virus software - always have anti-virus software on all devices and update it when a new version becomes available.

  5. Update browsers, operating systems, programs and apps each time an update or patch is available - developers make patches when new threats are identified. Always run the updates even if it seems like you just did this.

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