There's been a lot of talk about whether the internet is a safe place to monitor bank balances or open an account. Despite the range of flexibility and ease of use online banking offers, some consumers and companies are still worried that accessing financial information on the internet could be putting their money in danger. There are safe ways of managing these useful financial services, and being aware of how to spot potential threats is only the beginning.

Learning the ropes
The last few months have seen a number of information attacks on prominent entities like NASA, the IRS and the Secret Service, but these were largely due to human error. This is something that private online banking customers should be aware of – they are their own worst enemies when it comes to security and the internet, even when it's just answering emails or surfing {do people still use that term?} web pages. CPA Practice Advisor wrote that people of all ages can benefit from these convenient online options, so long as they remember to come up with complex passwords, use virus and malware protection and sign out of their accounts as soon as they're done reviewing them.

Protecting assetsThese basic security practices can't be reinforced enough, according to the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC). Yahoo News recently reported the organization is trying to calm major banking customers after a hacktivist group tried to sabotage a number of commercial financial entities through their online banking portals. The source stated that Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and U.S. Bancorp were among the top targets, but these firms had already implemented superior security programs, deterring the attackers as soon as they began their attempt.

So long as individual users are savvy about their own accounts, online banking can offer a variety of products and services to remote consumers, Deseret News reported. With the American economy currently bouncing back from the recession, more financial institutions are offering high-yield investment accounts, and moving money into these assets is much easier for people and businesses when they can manage money at any hour of the day or night.

Some firms have even moved their entire operations to internet-only outlets, providing their customers with a different kind of monetary service. While not ideal for many users, who still prefer face-to-face interactions with their banks from time to time, this shows the level of trust that financial entities are placing in the internet, a trend that requires their customers learn more about how to protect themselves. The last round of attacks were thwarted by the institutions themselves, but only through vigilant consumer use will this continue to be the case.