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How Technology is Keeping Your Wallet Secure

Financial transaction security is important!

We live in an era of increasing online threats. The days of simple bank robbery are mostly a thing of the past, but in place of that physical threat has arisen a plethora of new vulnerabilities for thieves to exploit. With more people than ever before working from home, financial transaction security is becoming an individual imperative, putting the responsibility for keeping our transactions safe directly in the hands of consumers. Here are a few ways that technology is rising to the challenge of empowering individuals to keep their wallets secure.

Data Encryption

As the world of consumer banking becomes more digitally driven, the safeguarding of data through encryption has become a priority in cyber security. Before the fraud surge of 2014, credit and debit cards used magnetic strips to make transactions. These strips can, however, be stolen or corrupted rather easily. Now, encrypted cards (also known as "smart cards) contain electronic chips which are much harder to duplicate and require a specialized card reader to use. Encryption utilizes an algorithm to scramble sent data and a key by which the receiving party can then decrypt the information. This helps to prevent malware attacks from ripping off customers regardless of where their banking is done.

Advanced Firewall and Antivirus Technology

Firewalls are computer systems designed with the goal of preventing unwanted or unauthorized access to a system. Basically speaking, it monitors network traffic automatically. Firewall systems are thus especially useful for preventing so-called "phishing" attacks. This cyber attack usually takes the form of a link sent via email which sends you to a fake payment site. Worse, the fraudulent links can contain malicious programs that can upload themselves onto your computer to do more damage. Firewalls can help to prevent that access and antivirus programs can prevent the malicious files from being installed. It's vital to make sure that these defensive programs are regularly updated as new threats emerge.

Cloud Computing Solutions

Cloud computing is becoming an ever more integral part of the financial world. Applications are an important new tool for transactions, and these are increasingly running in the cloud. Developing them in this manner allows a faster pace of innovation and a more effective way of getting feature-laden digital products to market, but cloud computing comes with a host of security risks, since an organization that stores data this way no longer has physical access to the servers that hold their information. Thankfully, advancements in identity management systems such as biometric ID systems and attribute-based encryption are becoming more sophisticated, making financial security more robust.

Virtual Private Networks

A few types of virtual private network (VPN) exist, but the basic idea is that they establish secure online connectivity by creating a private network from a public connection. They mask the internet protocol (IP) of your computer so your online activities can't be traced. That's not as nefarious as it sounds; this technology simply encrypts your internet traffic so that it can't be accessed by malicious users. Remote workers especially should always use a VPN service as an added layer of security when doing business online.

Employee Training Protocols

This isn't a technology per se, but technology is only as good as the person using it. That's what the effectiveness of security technology comes down to in the end: making certain that everyone knows how to properly deploy it. Financial institutions and their customers both need to keep abreast of the latest safety threats. It's also important to check your account regularly for suspicious transactions and remember to always keep your devices in a physically secure location. Human error is actually responsible for a surprising number of data breaches. You don't have to be paranoid, just awake and aware.

The financial field is notoriously hidebound when it comes to adapting to new technologies. There's a definite tendency to stick with the tried and true. However, the world of digital finance offers as many promises as it does pitfalls as long as we're all willing to take intelligent steps to stay safe.

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Craig Middleton
Craig Middleton
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Craig Middleton
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