Cyber Security Tips
The coronavirus pandemic has completely upended the way we work, educate and socialise. It has now become essential for many of us to operate remotely using the Internet and wireless network technologies. While it may seem harmless to connect to a public wireless connection to read/send emails, check our account balances, chat online, use social media, etc., such activities can also put our sensitive information at grave risk of being stolen and misused. Public wireless networks attract both unsuspecting users as well as cybercriminals for the ease and simplicity of connecting to the Internet without the need to enter any password. Cybercriminals and hackers can easily lay a trap for an unsuspecting user connected to free wireless hotspots/networks. As such, free Wi-Fi hotspots, despite the convenience, carry high risk and are associated with a number of threat factors.
Risks associated with public Wi-Fi hotspots include, but may not be necessarily limited to, the following -
- User IDs and passwords can be captured by cybercriminals, hackers and fraudsters
- Access to your computer, its network and data can be gained by hackers
- Targeted spam or malware distribution can be attempted on device by cybercriminals
- Hacking of the account and then using it for unscrupulous/unethical purposes
- Can be redirected to a malicious webpage resulting in loss of sensitive data
- Man-in-the-middle attacks can take place as a result of which our personally identifiable information (PII) and financial data may be exposed to cybercriminals and hackers
To mitigate risks associated to Wi-Fi usage, the following precautionary measures are suggested-
- Always manually select Wi-Fi networks and do not let your computer or smartphone automatically connect to an unknown Wi-Fi network
- Always use our own mobile data, home or office wireless networks, whenever possible
- Do not leave your Wi-Fi network turned on when not in use, and always remember to log out
- Avoid checking ‘Remember me’/‘Remember password’ checkboxes while signing in
- When accessing free or unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots, avoid accessing sites where we may have to sign in – such as your email accounts, social media sites, digital banking websites, online/e-commerce stores, etc.
- Whenever possible, always use incognito/private Internet browsing feature when surfing using public or unknown devices or free Wi-Fi hotspots
- Although not a fail-safe way of avoiding cyberattacks, sites that have “https://” prefix should be accessed only
- For an urgent online banking transaction, always search for a secure Wi-Fi network or, preferably, use your own mobile data
- The file-sharing feature on your computers should be left disabled to minimise risk of a hacker gaining entry
- Always choose strong passwords that are at least 8 characters in length, and frequently change passwords. Be careful not to use a password for more than one website or online service
- A good password is usually more than 8 characters long and is a combination of small and capital letters, numbers, and special characters. While choosing such a password, do not use any common names or words, dates of birth, etc. that can be easily guessed. Do not share password with anyone
In case a suspicious Wi-Fi hotspot/network is noticed in proximity of any of the Bank’s branches/ATMs, do not connect to it; and report this on the Bank’s toll free numbers 1800-258-8181/ 033-4409-9090 or contact your nearest branch of the Bank as soon as possible.