Mint.com home page

More people are using Web sites like Mint.com to manage their finances and as a result opening themselves up to privacy and security problems. Jason Owens, a certified security specialist, writes on his site about how he would hack in to your Mint.com account.

If you’re not familiar with Mint.com, it’s an online financial accounts manager that lets you pay your bills, budget, chart your expenses, find ways to save and other features, and can be connected to your banking and credit card accounts. The latter feature is reason alone for protecting your Mint account, keeping it safe.

Owens details how he was interested in the safety levels at Mint for his own use, and found there are security features lacking. Part of his approach, in trying to think like a hacker, is that he might take a social approach to finding whatever information online about you possible and try to find non-brute force ways to break into accounts.

Even if you don’t use Mint, you should still read what Owens writes as some of the issues noted apply to those of use who use our smartphones or other mobile devices (e.g., Apple iPad) to do online banking while on the go. The very least protection, of course, is to never do so on public WiFi networks and to use “strong” passwords. (If you can discipline yourself to change passwords regularly, even better, though this can be a hard to discipline to acquire.) Owens provides numerous tips on how to protect your Mint account, and many of these apply to other financial websites that you might use.