Cyber Crime: Are your online banking transactions safe? 0 395

online banking cyber crime

Checking your account balance, paying bills and managing your finances… Nowadays, it is pretty normal to do all those things online…. But are you sure you do them in the most secure way?

Presently, cybersecurity or (insecurity) in Kenya is the single biggest threat to business in terms of the consumption and use of Information Communication Technologies (ICT).

Unfortunately, innovation has meant that hacking tools are now cheaper and simpler to use in marking out vulnerable targets. Serianu Limited, the publishers of the Kenya Cyber security report, notes that Kenyan companies lost over Kes 15 billion in 2015 through Cybercrime. On top of this pile of victim losses sits the public sector at Kes 5 billion, followed by the financial services sector at Kes 4 billion. Sadly, this scenario is not unique to Kenya, cybercrime has been on a steady rise globally. Another study by consulting house PwC, notes that the number of cyber security incidents across all industries grew by 38% in 2015 and which is the biggest increase in the 12 years since the global study was first published.Over the recent months we have seen a rise in cases of cyber-attacks such as ransomware and data leakage, some which have even gone undetected. One such incident that went viral on regional social media circles involved a leading Kenyan bank. A hacker was supposedly able to access through a data systems breach, more than 500,000 customers’ details, including names and phone numbers and which were then plastered on various online platforms.

No doubt the mobile phone is the universal communication device of choice for many. The Communications Authority of Kenya notes that we have 39 million mobile phone subscribers in Kenya, 22 million who access and are constantly on the internet. A huge proportion of this fraction estimated at about 95% doesn’t have mobile security in place. This could very well mean that the smartphone is the single largest cybersecurity weakness we have today. With the advent of the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) culture, this could be true for both the individual and corporate users. This is a huge vulnerability gap considering that online and mobile transactions have become the most convenient ways of banking in Kenya through USSD short codes and Mobile banking apps.

Whereas banks may have invested heavily in ICT security systems, most Kenyans remain grossly unaware of the various cybersecurity threats that exist. Some of these include keylogging, Man-in-the-middle, Phishing and even ransomware attacks.

So how can you the consumer of online banking services ensure that you are not a vulnerable and easy target for hackers?

Teddy Njoroge, Country Manager for ICT security solutions company, ESET East Africa, says the first step would be for ICT professionals to obtain latest training on the prevalent risks in the market. Consumers, he adds would do much better for themselves by being proactive about their online security by keeping up with common cybersecurity threat solutions.

“These could be specific to the type of devices or platforms on which you access your online banking services. However, the important thing is to be aware of the potential risks and how to mitigate these in real-time, since it is very possible to detect unwanted intrusions such as phishing and ransomware scams”, says Njoroge.

Safer Online Banking principles

According to Njoroge, some key principles of safer online banking and payments to consider include using trustworthy devices and internet connections, while keeping the operating systems and software up-to-date. Not every internet connection such as public Wi-Fi at the coffee shop or a random network at any office is secure to be used for online banking or making payments. It is advisable instead to use a virtual private network (VPN) to keep your communications encrypted (unreadable) to anyone who may try to intercept them.

Whenever you connect to your online account, use your own computer, tablet or smartphone as it is more likely to notice if any suspicious activity is going. Avoid using a borrowed or public device that might put your data, account or savings at risk”, says Njoroge.

But having a strong password is perhaps the first step in proactively securing your device and online banking access. One easy technique in developing a strong but simple password regime is ‘pass phrasing’ which simply means using a sequence of words or other text to control access to a computer system, program or data. However, it is doubly important never to reuse your password e.g. for your bank, social media and other accounts which can mean a total hack into each account in case it leaks from any one of them. To manage these, one can use a password manager that will store all of them and allow you to remember just one master password.

Similarly, to enjoy the internet and maximize protection while connecting to an online banking account, one should install a trusted security solution on their devices. This will preferably be a reliable, multilayered and updated security solution. For example, ESET Smart Security offers protection from multiple types of malware as well as malicious tricks that might be disguised as harmless emails or websites. Cybercriminals will try anything to access your sensitive data. They will pretend to be your banker, pose as an innocuous notification in your email, or ask you to change the password via a link added to that email you just received. If you get any message asking you to change your banking credentials or click on a link, contact your bank and verify this immediately.

“If your bank offers two-factor authentication (2FA) for your online account, use it. This way the bank can double check if it is you connecting or making a transaction by using something only you have – such as your personal smartphone”, advises Njoroge.

For those who check their online banking account less frequently, it is advisable to set up alerts and notifications to your phone. Having information about all the current transactions makes it easier to recognize any suspicious activity. When not using your online banking platform, ensure to log out every time to avoid ‘man in the middle’ type of attacks.

Courtesy: http://techtrendske.co.ke

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How To Easily Set Up a VPN at Home 0 74

Woman working at home

As the COVID-19 pandemic has many organizations switching employees to remote work, a virtual private network is essential for countering the increased security risks

Probably, you have been forced to work from home due to the COVID-19 outbreak (recommended to reduce the spread of the virus). However, you are wondering how you will set up your VPN to enable secure communication.

Well, don’t agonize too much; we shall first explain to you what a VPN entails. And then, provide you with a step by step procedure for setting a basic Virtual Private Network. Here we go!

First, what is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?

Essentially, a VPN is a private channel within a wider (open) network that enables you to communicate with your peers (other nodes with similar settings) without leaking your information through the use of encryption.

Besides, you can utilize a VPN to initiate communication through any network without revealing your location. In any case, a significant number of vendors deal with clients needing such services to avoid being tracked or be able to bypass particular network filters. 

However, in our case, we shall consider a home office VPN that will create a communication tunnel for your practical and secure home office communication.

Is it necessary to set up a virtual private network?

For there to be any communication between two endpoints ─ your pc and the computer in the main office –, they must be configured.

In this case, you’ll require the services of your IT department (if you have one), who will guide you regarding the applications to install, as well as provide you with VPN credentials depending on your needs. Upon installing and configuring the said app, you can automatically establish communication through the provided link. Easy-peasy, right?

On the other hand, if you don’t have an IT department behind your back, then you may have to do it yourself. These shouldn’t; however, scare you at all; it’s not as tough as you might imagine.

But before we explore the nitty-gritty of setting up the VPN, we first need to identify the options we have. In our case, we shall examine two options:

  • Open VPN: standard in small office/home office and business-class routers
  • IP Sec: Is Built-in and commonly used by desktops, smartphones, and laptops

The Open Virtual Private Network

This type of VPN has been around for a long time and has proved itself secure and reliable. It is ideal for small office/ house offices, as well as business-class routers, thanks to its open-source nature.

Procedure for installation

  1. On a contemporary device, go to the router’s configuration screen and click the relevant buttons to access your office network
  2. Download the configuration file generated by the router
  3. Use this file to configure/setup the OpenVPN in your pc, smartphone, or desktop that you want to use to access the Network behind that particular router. In case you get stuck somewhere, you can download or follow an online tutorial for your specific router.
  4. Download the required apps that will enable you to access your new home office VPN from this website.
  5. Install the downloaded applications and then configure them using the files generated when setting up the Open VPN on your office router.

In the event you find the going tough, you can always consult with an online tutorial or IT personnel.

Internet Protocol Security

IPsec is also another technology that has been in use for an extended period to provide reasonable security. It utilizes the same working principles as the OpenVPN; however, it is mostly used on lower-cost routers. Besides, it is a built-in technology in most desktops, laptops, and smartphones; therefore, it eliminates the need for installing another application on your device.

The installation process is similar to that one of OpenVPN. However, implementing a particular router IPsec can sometimes be a little more complicated compared to installing an open VPN.

Fortunately, with the use of native tools on your remote endpoints, you can offset this by just typing in a few things, such as the required IP address and credentials.

Final thoughts

Conclusively, these are some of the simplest virtual net protection options you can install on your home system without requiring massive/no input from IT experts.

Importantly, you will need a beefier than standard broadband for quick communication over the VPN. Also, you may experience slower connections due to the much horsepower required to keep the connection encrypted and tunneled. Nevertheless, this is a small price to pay in exchange for a secure home office communication.

In case you required any advice regarding VPN options or installation services, then ESET has been here for you for over 30 years. We want to assure you that we will be here to protect your online activities during these uncertain times, too.

Protect yourself from threats to your security online with an extended trial of our award-winning software.

Try our extended 90-days trial for free.

How To Improve Communication Security with MFA 0 473

Person working on two factor authentication

Remote work can be much safer with the basic cyber-hygiene practices in place – multi-factor authentication is one of them

If you are working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is essential to integrate two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication in your daily login routine. That way, you can beat fraudsters at their own game, since the security of your essentials isn’t wholly dependent on passwords alone.

The interesting bit with this technology is that you may have already seen it in action; for instance, when requesting access to your bank account via your smartphone. In this case, you must enter the one-time code sent to you in addition to your password to gain access.

See, enabling such double authentication processes on all your logins can make it difficult for scammers to access your accounts even if they compromise your passwords.

That said, you may now want to know which MFA option to use? Well, we take a look at some of the ways you can utilize MFA to bolster the security of your connections when working remotely.

  1. First, the use of a physical token

To implement this technique, you will require a physical device such as a security USB key, a key fob, or a similar item that will generate a secure code for verification purposes.

You’ll mostly be required to integrate this method if you need access to your cloud-based applications, online office applications, or corporate office technology. The YubiKey or Thetis is an example of such a device that you can purchase with less than US$50.

For convenience purposes, most of these devices are designed tiny; you can carry them in your pant pocket or hang them on a keychain for safety purposes. 

2. Use of a mobile phone

Most likely, you own a smartphone, right?

If yes, you can use it to boost your MFA security capabilities. For instance, you can download an authentication app such as Google Authenticator, ESET Secure Authentication, or Authy for your use.

The only caveat here is to ensure your source has a reputable security background. This is informed by the fact that the app is going to reside inside your smartphone, which is also vulnerable to security threats; therefore, robust security is required to avoid pre-emptying your security efforts.

Importantly, be on the lookout for spam messages when using your phone as they can trick you into compromising your accounts.

Fortunately, if you download applications from reputable sources, you can be offered a solution in case you have an issue with the platform itself.

3. Use of Biometrics

Factually, no single human being shares a fingerprint or retinal scan with another. This unique feature has been conveniently utilized overtime to provide robust multi-factor Authentication. 

You can also utilize the same to secure your connections.  For instance, you can take a picture of your face or scan your fingerprint using a biometric reader – currently, a common feature in smartphones or other devices ─, and then integrate it in your login procedure. These will prevent any other user from accessing your accounts or private information.

On the flip side, some folks feel that the technique is somehow creepy; therefore, give it a wide bath. Besides, it can present a challenge when you need to reset your bio features if your service provider is hacked.

Final thoughts

When scouting for a suitable MFA option for your needs, it is vital to consider one that can easily fit your routine. This stems from the fact that without proper utilization, an MFA option can’t protect you.

Similarly, an MFA technique can allow some side benefits as well. For instance, in the event of a security breach, you will be notified that your password has been interfered with; this can enable you to implement mitigation measures. Not only that, but you also get protected from the would-be attack since the fraudsters wouldn’t have access to your other factors.

In case you require a secure authentication application or consultation regarding MFA options, then ESET has been here for you for over 30 years. We want to assure you that we will be here to protect your online activities during these uncertain times, too.

Protect yourself from threats to your security online with an extended trial of our award-winning software. 

Try our extended 90-days trial for free.