Personal Checking

ONLINE and Mobile Safety

Online Safety - Top 10 Tips

The convenience of computers and the Internet come with risks, including viruses that could erase your entire system or hackers who could steal your personal information.  It's important that you keep informed of the latest threats, and the best ways to stay safe online.

1) Passwords

  • Passwords should have at least 8 characters and include upper and lower case letters, numerals and special characters.
  • Do not use the same password for different accounts.

2) Use of External Devices

  • Be cautious of connecting your computer to devices such as thumb drives, smartphones and mobile devices that do not belong to you.

 3) Phishing and Social Engineering

  • These scams work to obtain your personal information.
  • Be cautious about all communications you receive, especially those containing links or attachments, even if it seems to be from a trusted source.
  • Do not respond to any unsolicited emails and do not open attachments contained in those messages.

 4) Online Transactions

  • Shop only at sites for companies you are familiar with and trust.
  • Look for the lock symbol or https in the website URL to indicate the transaction is secure.
  • Be wary of potential scams - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Don't use a public computer or public wireless network for transactions.
  • Make payments by credit card rather than debit card.

 5) Admin vs. Non-Admin Accounts

  • Hackers can potentially take control of your computer by accessing an administrator, or admin account.
  • Non-admin accounts limit a hacker's ability to harm your computer.
  • Always run your computer as a non-administrator unless otherwise needed.

 6) Updating Your Systems and Software

  • Keep your systems and software up-to-date, as the latest versions often fix vulnerabilities of previous versions.
  • Set programs and systems to auto-update to avoid missing a critical update.

 7) Protecting and Securing Mobile Devices

  • Establish a password and enable screen lock or auto lock on all devices.
  • Disable Bluetooth functionality if you do not use it (some are enabled by default).
  • Encrypt data and data transmissions whenever possible.

 8) Enable Your Firewall

  • A firewall is a software program or hardware device that filters the traffic between your network or computer and the Internet.
  • Firewalls can block intruders and unwanted traffic from getting into your computer.
  • Make sure your firewall is enabled.

 9) Use Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware Programs

  • These programs can stop viruses, worms and other malware.
  • Can stop pop-up advertising, malware that collects personal information, or changes the configuration of your computer.
  • Keep these programs up-to-date by keeping the license active and the program set to auto-update.

 10) Secure Wireless Networks

  • Minimize the risk to your wireless network by enabling encryption, changing the default password, changing the name of your network, as well as turning off SSID broadcasting.
  • Allows you to designate and restrict which computers can connect to your wireless network.


Social Media Security Tips

The popularity of social networking sites has expanded tremendously in recent years.  These sites continue to be prime targets for malware distribution and scams.

What precautions should I take?

Keep Your System Updated

  • Make sure any computer you use has up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a firewall.
  • Set the configuration to auto-update.

 Use Strong and Unique Passwords

  • Using the same password on all accounts increases the vulnerability of other accounts if one becomes compromised.

 Use Caution When Clicking on Links

  • If a link seems odd, suspicious, or too good to be true, do not click on it.
  • Remember, even your friend's account is not safe - it may have been hacked or infected and is now spreading malware.

 Screen Names

  • Do not choose a screen name that gives too much personal information.

 Social Networking Sites

  • Do not assume privacy on these sites.
  • Only post information that you are comfortable disclosing to a complete stranger.
  • Once information is posted online, it can potentially be viewed by anyone and may not be retracted afterwards.

 Review the Site's Privacy Policy

  • Some sites will share your email address or user preferences with other parties.
  • If the site's privacy policy is vague, or does not protect your information, do not use the site.


 Mobile/Tablet Device Security

As mobile devices continue to take on the characteristics of personal computers, they also inherit the same potential risks.  Some of the primary risks include:

  • Loss of the device - millions of mobile communication devices are lost each year.
  • Bluetooth - when enabled, these devices are subject to eavesdropping and "highjacking."
  • Malware - if installed on your mobile device a hacker can access all the information on your phone, trace your location, listen and record your calls, even make calls on your behalf.
  • Free Sites - sites offering free games or ring tones are major distributors of malware.
  • Worms and viruses - while the risk is relatively low at this point, this is expected to increase in the future.

What can I do to secure my mobile communication device?

  • Use a password to access your device.
  • If the Bluetooth functionality is not used, be sure this setting is disabled.
  • Do not open attachments from untrusted sources.
  • Do not follow links to untrusted sources, especially from unsolicited email or text messages.
  • Review the security setting on your device to ensure appropriate protection - encrypt data transmissions whenever possible.
  • Enable storage encryption - this will help protect the data stored on your device in the event it is lost or stolen.
  • Beware of downloading any software to your device.
  • Before disposing of the device, wipe all data from it.