5 rules to protect an online bank account

Fight off phishing and other scams
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Evading banking cyber thugs is more challenging than ever. They're now targeting consumers rather than banks and scouting out security holes in your computer. The reason: About 80 percent of U.S. households bank on the Internet, according to banking consultancy Novantas LLC in New York.

The newest ruse called "smishing," a variation of phishing, targets mobile banking customers. "We're in the early stages of mobile threats," says Kevin Mahaffey, chief technology officer at mobile security firm Lookout Inc. "Attackers are still figuring out how they're going to play in this world."

But malware, short for malicious software, is still the most pervasive fraud. Malware can infect any computer by attacking it through e-mail or poisoned Web downloads. Cyber criminals then take control of your computer and your finances.

"It's always a game of leapfrog," says Marc DeCastro, a research manager at Financial Insights based in Framingham, Mass. "The bad guys look for the easiest point of entry. There are ebbs and flows."

Don't let the bad guys fool you. Here are five ways to fend off online banking thugs.




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