October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, so we decided to focus this month’s blogs on how to protect yourself from cyber-scams. In part one, we focus on understanding what cybersecurity is, along with best practices to protect yourself. Part two coming later this month will focus on the popular types of cyber-scams and what to watch out for.
As a community bank, keeping your personal information secure is our top priority, so we hope you take a moment to familiarize yourself with what to watch out for. As a rule of thumb, if it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t!
Why is cybersecurity awareness important?
If you think about the amount of personal information we all store on our cell phones, tablets and computers, the idea of someone hacking into one of these devices is unnerving. Family cell phone numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, app passwords – it’s like someone stealing your wallet, except worse because they’ve gained access to critical information that they can use to impersonate you, open accounts on your behalf, and steal your identity.
What can happen if someone gains access to your device?
In addition to the personal risks of having a scammer steal your information, they can also cause significant damage to your devices. Depending on their goal, they can erase your entire system, alter files that you have saved, or even use your computer to hack into other computers. Some scammers will try to make purchases on your behalf, or sign up for various credit card or other accounts under your name.
Unfortunately, there is no fool-proof guarantee that you will never be the victim of a cyberattack, but being aware of what to look out for can certainly minimize the risk.
Cybersecurity Best Practices
Your first defense against a cyberattack is not engaging with emails, text messages or pop up ads from people or organizations you don’t know. In addition, below are more tips to protect you and your family.
- Use strong passwords
- Keep your anti-virus software up to date
- Do not send any personal information via email or text
- Do not give your personal information to any person or organization you don’t know
- Check your bank account statements frequently to make sure there is no unusual activity
- Set notifications with FSB text alerts to help you keep an eye on your account activity
Cybercriminals are creating new ways to hack into our electronic devices every day. The best thing you can do to avoid an attack is to stay informed! October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, but we will be posting tips for keeping your information safe all year round. Follow us on Facebook to join the conversation!