Sunday, December 04, 2016

Safe guarding your electronic transactions

Safe guarding your electronic debit card or credit card data

A little while ago, I was going through an article titled "Six seconds! That's how long hackers need to guess your credit card details"

It elaborates on how ingenious crackers can steal your card information and make purchases in short time.

From my experience, there are a few precautions one may take, to prevent or minimise our credit card or debit card data being stolen or misused.

Keep two Debit Cards but transact on one

Always, have two debit cards on you. And use only one card regularly for all your transactions. Also ensure that the balance in the card that you use for electronic transactions is as low as you can afford it to be. When it depletes, you can always transfer amount from your other main account.

This shields your main account from hackers and your other card details, even if it is misused, will not bother you too much, since the balance is always kept at a certain minimum.

Beware of software installs

If you use a computer at home, do not install unknown or unnecessary software on your computer; this advise is aimed at people who are not too tech savvy and may be easily misled by the installing software.

For example, if you install a certain software, it also installs a browser toolbar as an add-on, when you install with the default features. So, if you are unsure, get a trained computer technician to do it.

Use only computers that you trust. Do not use computers that are used by people other than you; using a computer in a browsing center is not advised, because there may be suspicious software that might have been intentionally or unintentionally installed on the device; using a publicly available wifi network is also a bad idea.

Cheat them thermal imaging devices

When we key in our debit card pin, our body heat gets transferred to the card authentication device's key pad. This can be easily captured by these thermal imaging devices. Once they have these 4 digits, it is only a matter of time before our pin is identified.

You may be surprised to know that certain devices are smart enough to identify not only the buttons pressed but the order in which they were pressed, using the difference in the heat signature on the keys.

The solution is to rub our fingers all over the keypad, while waiting for the response from the bank, thereby confusing them snooping devices.

Understand phishing attempts

You may receive an authentic looking mail from your bank, asking you to update your card details and change your secret pin. And that your card will be invalidated if you do not update your details. It looks so authentic that we fail to see that the mail is not at all from our bank.

Do not be overawed by such threats. And do not click on any links to visit your bank website. Instead, type in the address of your bank, in your browser's address bar.

Other precautions

Try and use cash wherever possible. Do not share your pin numbers. If you do, change the pin at the earliest possible instance. Do not write down your pin numbers and keep them in your wallet. Use the OTP feature that is provided by most of the banks to authenticate every online transaction.

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