Article | 4 min read

How Willow Keeps Your Data and Money Safe

Written by Megan Politeski
Illustrated by Willow
How Willow Keeps Your Data  and Money Safe

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Published | Apr. 26, 2022

Before the digital age, protecting a person’s financial information meant keeping everything under lock and key. The internet has changed that. You’ve probably experienced some kind of digital security breach yourself—maybe a hacked social media account, or a bank that needs to mail you a new credit card because of a third-party interference—and unfortunately, many institutions are playing catch-up when it comes to cybersecurity.

But at Willow, we’ve built cybersecurity into our DNA. Ray Johannsson, co-founder and CTO of Willow, has over 30 years of experience working in software development and digital safety. Day in and day out, Ray is collaborating with the Willow Dev team to further build up our cybersecurity, and thankfully, he’s willing to share just how he does it.

“The first step to keeping information safe is having a plan in place,” says Ray. Before we ask customers for their information, we enable substantial security measures: We’re talking bank-level security, firewalls, multiple layers of redundancy, and encrypted databases, all protecting the back end of the Willow site.

How does Ray know it’s secure? Well, he had IBM professionals try to break in. After Willow employees tested the backend, the IBM team performed penetration testing —a planned attack to try to break into a company’s digital security system.

What blew me away was when Ray told me that wasn’t good enough—our system also needed reliable encryption. Encryption is a secure communication that ensures How Willow Keeps Your Data and Money Safe2sensitive data stays private as it travels from one point to another, preventing “man- in-the-middle” attacks. Deciphering these encryptions is near impossible, and the cipher keys to do so are incredibly complex. “We wanted to take it a step further - encrypting all communications. We want our users’ information to be safe even if someone gets into their account,” Ray explains.

So, what if you get hacked, or your password is stolen? Rest assured: Your money and investments are safe. Our accounting processes ensure financial data is accurately represented, so when a person tries to pull money from a Willow wallet, it triggers a compliance process to ensure that it is a legitimate request, and the funds go back to the right person.

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What’s more, because of the data encryption that happens with all sensitive information, it’s impossible for a hacker to access your linked bank account via Willow. The only way someone would be able to access that information would be to hack into the bank itself.

I used to get frustrated when a website told me my password was weak, but hearing about the technology behind it is incredible! I had no idea how much care and thought goes into cybersecurity, and I am so impressed at the daily effort that is required to keep our valued customers safe. Ray left me with this thought, and I will leave it with you as well:

“As a fintech company, our top concern is our customer’s money. If we can’t keep that safe, then we are in the wrong business.”

Couldn’t agree more, Ray

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