In our view, these five rules offer the most protection for the least amount of effort. By following these rules you will greatly increase your PC's protection, not just when you use our Internet Banking services but when you use the internet generally.
They are not all the measures you can take, but are an excellent start. They are equally applicable to business owners and to private individuals:
Spyware is the term used to describe programs that run on your computer for the purpose of monitoring and recording the way in which you browse the web and the internet sites you visit. For example, spyware can combine information about your online behaviour with that of many other users in order to generate market research data. This information can be bought and sold by companies interested in improving the way websites are designed and how the internet is used.
You may or may not wish for your internet usage to be monitored in this way. In addition, just as spyware can be used to improve the online experience it can also be used to extract personal information that you have entered, including passwords, telephone numbers, credit card numbers and identity card numbers.
Spyware is often loaded onto a PC as part of a free download of another service - for example a service that claims to improve the performance of your PC. Sometimes your agreement to the download is requested in the small print, but spyware may also be loaded onto your PC without your agreement or knowledge.
Spyware is not the same as a virus in that it only records what you do rather than altering how your machine works. Because of this, anti-virus software is not effective in identifying and removing spyware; you will need to download and run a specialised anti-spyware program.
Anti-spyware security software currently available include McAfee, Spybot Search and Destroy, AdAware, Spyware Eliminator, Spyware Doctor and Microsoft antispyware. We strongly recommend that you install and use a reputable anti-spyware product to protect yourself against spyware on your PC.
Please visit www.banksafeonline.org.uk for further independent information on this topic.