At HSBC, we use advanced security systems and software to protect your account. We do everything we can to prevent online fraud. However, everyone who uses the internet should be aware of the potential risks and how to avoid them. In this section, you can find out what you can do to protect yourself and who to contact if you spot online fraud.
Top 5 security tips to Protect Yourself online
Keep your passwords and security details safe, so no one else can access your online accounts
Passwords are the key to your online account information. Your HSBC Internet Banking password, together with your Internet Banking Username, permits access to your bank accounts. For this reason your password should be unique and very well protected. It is important to remember that no one at HSBC will ever ask you for your Internet Banking password. If someone does ask you for it, they do not represent HSBC.
Download security updates and patches for the computer programs you use
From time to time, vulnerabilities are discovered in computer operating systems and Internet browsers. Before the publisher can release a security patch to correct these weaknesses, they can be exploited by virus writers and hackers to gain unauthorised access to those PCs that have not yet been updated.
Most modern software will check for updates automatically. You may want to install them as they become available. You can also check for patches and updates by visiting the publisher's website, typically in their Downloads section.
Update your anti-virus software regularly to protect your computer against attacks from new viruses
Viruses/Malware/Trojans are bad news since they can steal your personal information (Accounts, contacts, photos etc.), take over your PC to carry out illicit activity, pop up unwanted adverts and potentially use your computer to attack other people's computers. Anti-virus software will protect you, your privacy and your money.
There are many effective programs to choose from; the most common commercial products are from McAfee, Symantec (Norton) and Sophos. It is also possible to obtain free anti-virus protection. If you are already using anti-virus software, to be effective it should be updated on a regular basis with the latest "virus definition" files. If you are unsure how to do this, you should refer to the program's own Help function.
Install a personal firewall to block unauthorised access to your computer
A firewall is a program that helps protect your computer and its contents from potentially illicit access from the Internet. When properly installed, it stops unauthorised traffic to and from your PC. There are many effective programs to choose from. Common commercial examples are from Zone Labs, Symantec (Norton), McAfee and Computer Associates.
As an added security, you should avoid using Administrator user accounts on your computer while connected to the internet. This will further close down the damage possible in case of unauthorised access to your computer.
Avoid using public computers and public WIFI hotspots to access your Personal Internet Banking
Public Internet computers and wi-fi hotspots are a very convenient way to access the internet while outdoors however, the way in which you connect can also be very risky. Accessing your online banking services over public/unsecure channels is not recommended and you should always try to access your Personal Internet Banking using a safe (known) connection.
When accessing your bank accounts or personal information in public areas, it is also important to be aware of your surroundings. You need to be aware of potential on-lookers while in public places, such as hotel lobbies, restaurants, airports, public transport etc., since data theft through observation is just as damaging, if it falls in the wrong hands.
Please visit www.banksafeonline.org.uk for further independent information on this topic.