Online banking security Online banking: the security risks

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This article, Online banking security, was last updated on 15 September 2011 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference. Explore our latest Money articles.

Security threats

keyboard and lock

Criminal gangs constantly invent new ways to outwit the banks

Criminal gangs are constantly investing new ways to outwit the banks.  

The best online banking systems offer multi-layered security – providing many levels of protection that act as a deterrent to fraudsters and a cover for customers. 

Man-in-the-browser attack

In recent years the 'man-in-the-browser' (MitB) attack has become increasingly common. A type of 'Trojan', the MitB infects your web browser and can alter your transactions.

For example, the MitB can make it look like you're paying your gas bill as normal but can change the destination bank and account, and even the amount. Afterwards, it may even alter your account so everything in your online statement looks normal. 


Keyloggers are another major online threat. These are devices and viruses that covertly record your keystrokes, enabling fraudsters to collect your password, Pin and other security information.

Software keyloggers

These are viruses that infect your computer and which you can pick up unknowingly from email attachments and malicious websites. They can sit undetected on your computer.  The best method of protection is to ensure you have up-to-date anti-virus software installed, but unfortunately even these may not catch all software keyloggers. 

Hardware keyloggers

These are small devices that can be plugged into the back of a computer. Unless you know what you're looking for they can be hard to detect.  You're most at risk of these if you use a public or work computer to do your online banking.

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