Your Guide to Cybersecurity

The number of computer-related crimes are growing each year. It’s important you understand how to protect and maintain your computer system.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation suggests following these eight tips to help you steer clear of fraudsters:

Protect your computer and make sure it is always up to date with the latest software

Install software that protects against malware or malicious software which can access a computer system without your consent to steal passwords or account numbers. Also, use a firewall program to prevent unauthorized access to your PC. While protection options vary make sure the settings allow for automatic updates.

Use the strongest method available to log into and view your financial accounts

Create strong user IDs and passwords for your computer, mobile device, and online accounts by using a combinations of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols that are hard to guess. It’s important to use different passwords for all of your user IDs and change them regularly.

Understand Internet safety features and look for https:// prefix in the address bar

You can have greater confidence that a website is authentic and that it encrypts (scrambles) your information if the web address starts with the https:// prefix. When you are accessing your financial accounts, ensure you are logged out before you walk away from the computer.

Be suspicious of unsolicited e-mails asking you to click on a link, download an attachment, or provide any account information

It’s easy for cyber criminals to copy the logo of a reputable company or organization and create a replica site or send a phishing email. When responding to a simple request, you may be installing malware. Your safest strategy is to ignore unsolicited requests, no matter how legitimate or enticing they appear. Don’t download an attachment from an email you are not expecting.

Be careful where and how you connect to the Internet

Only access the Internet for banking or other activities that involve personal information using your own laptop or mobile device through a known, trusted, and secure connection. A public computer, such as at a hotel business center or public library and other free Wi-Fi networks are not necessarily secure. It can be relatively easy for cyber criminals to intercept Internet traffic in these locations.

Take precautions with your tablet or smartphone

Consider opting for automatic updates for your device’s operating system and phone apps when they come available to help reduce vulnerability to software problems. Never leave your mobile device unattended and use a password or other security feature to restrict access in the event your device is lost or stolen.

Educate yourself

It’s always important to educate yourself in the world of cybersecurity. Stay up-to-date on the latest scams and make sure you know what to do if, or when, the time comes and you need to report fraud.

Confirm a charity is legit before donating

Con artists will often seek to benefit from natural disasters and any charitable cause connected to it. If you receive a phone call, or an email, from someone claiming to be a charitable organization – do your research before donating. It could be a fraudster seeking out your personal information. Instead of donating through phone or email, visit the organization’s website to confirm it as a legitimate operation and donate through an alternative channel.