Bank on This: Test Your Computer Banking Savvy

Staff

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Using your computer to bank online and keep your account records is ultraconvenient, but you have to be savvy to protect your money and your identity. Think you're a computer banking expert? Take our quiz to find out!

In 2010, what was the most common online password used?

Apparently, some people haven't seen the movie "Spaceballs", but the top three most popular passwords all involve sequential numbers. The most common is the ridiculously predictable "123456." "Password" and "iloveyou" round out the top five.

In 2005, Paris Hilton's e-mail account was broken into. What password was used?

You should never use something guessable as a password, and her security question of "What's your favorite pet's name?" did little to protect her account when this information had been so widely publicized previously. Tinkerbell did not make a good guard dog.

What's the minimum level of encryption required for "top secret" level United States government information?

While 256-bit encryption might be a little bit more secure, 192-bit encryption is enough to convince the federal government that its secrets are safe. However, there are enough security breaches within the government to still produce plenty of leaks.

According to InfoWorld, what was the most secure operating system around in 2011?

This is a bit of a trick question, since few agree on a single OS being the best, and because they went with a mobile operating system. Still, InfoWorld credits Apple iOS as being the most secure around. They did not specify a version, and it's admittedly not always easy to do all of your banking using a mobile device.

If you're willing to turn your personal computer into a server to maximize protection, what does UNIX Express say is the most secure OS?

UNIX Express is not alone in claiming OpenBSD is by far the most secure operating system you can get if you're doing anything online. You need programming savvy to run Open BSD, though.

What percentage of Americans believe they balance their checkbooks better than Congress, according to a 2011 American Pulse survey?

Considering how few of us balance our checkbooks anymore, the fact that 95 percent of us believed we did a better job than Congress might seem surprising. Then again, considering the average American's budget deficit is usually a lot lower than the government's, it's also a safe bet.

What percentage of banks provide zero-liability coverage for fraudulent transactions?

Described as the "industry standard" by the American Bankers Association, these days banks routinely offer full protection from banking account fraud, as long as you've shown some reasonable degree of common sense in protecting yourself.

Online money managers are getting more popular. Should you use them?

This is a definite maybe. Depending on the software involved and the relationship the service has with your bank, you may have trouble. Check with your bank to see what online money manager, if any, they would prefer you work with. If you go your own route, you could end up liable for everything if your account gets hacked.

What month is National Cyber Security Awareness Month in the United States?

December might make sense considering all the shopping going on, but this event has been "celebrated" every October since 2004.

Speaking of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, what federal organization sponsors this annual event?

Not that the U.S. government has redundancies or anything, but this is a tough one. The Department of Homeland Security sponsored this as part of its overall mission to educate the public in making the country more resistant to digital attacks.

If you're doing your banking using a mobile device, what should you do to make sure you're safe?

A carrying case (and physical privacy) can be useful, but making sure you're on a secured wireless network is critical. If you can't find one, you're better off using whatever data network you're subscribed to. Libraries and coffee shops might have decent wifi but you have no idea who's lurking in that shared cyberspace.

When someone goes phishing, what is it they're specifically looking for?

Often in the form of an e-mail asking you to log in to your account, phishing attacks historically were marked by abysmal grammar. Many phishers have studied up and are getting better at both grammar and getting people to fork over their usernames and passwords by directing them to fake Web sites.

Targeted phishing attacks, where the victim is a specific person or small group of people, are called what?

There's nothing quite like driving a metaphor into the ground, and what better way to describe a targeted attack than to do a little spear phishing?

Which of the following is the most effective way to remember a super-secure password consisting of punctuation marks, numbers and letters?

Can't memorize "MPI1OTB&MSPAP"? Think of it instead as an abbreviation for "My Password Is One Of The Best And Most Secure Passwords Around, Period." Mnemonic devices can more effectively help you remember secure passwords.

What type of software will make most other security precautions useless?

Spyware, which logs your keystrokes and sends them to people hoping to profit from stealing your login and account information, can bypass other security precautions because it captures your information before it gets encrypted. Always have up-to-date software on your computer to protect against both viruses and spyware.

If you have a computer at home with sensitive information, and want to host a party, what's the best way to protect your computer from prying eyes?

Ideally you'll have only friends who wouldn't think of doing anything malicious with your computer, but that's not always the case. The safest bet is to encrypt your data and lock up your computer until the guests have all left. That way, even if someone wants or needs to use the computer during the party (you never know) your banking information will still be protected.

According to comScore, how many Americans used mobile banking applications in late 2010?

Increasing more than 50 percent since the same period in 2009, 29.8 million Americans used online banking applications in the 4th quarter of 2010. But again, be wary of unsecured wireless networks whenever you do mobile banking.

Skimming steals your banking information by piggybacking on what common tool?

By attaching a device to an ATM, criminals can "skim" data off of your card and take a picture of your fingers as you enter your PIN. Your best bet is to only use ATMs you're familiar with that are in secure locations, and to watch for signs of tampering.

In 2009, what percentage of people relied on only a single password for everything they access, according to PC World?

Amazingly, even as recently as 2009, 33 percent of people still relied on a single password that, if lost, would expose them to potentially massive identity theft. Only 8 percent of people used a variety of secure passwords to protect their activities.

Of the options below, which makes the best password?

OK, this time the last one is correct. It should never be something that a criminal could either figure out or exists in a dictionary of any kind. Of course, now that you've seen this online, don't use "gE$sI35HQ1&zD" either.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes