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Cybersecurity Tips

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Cybersecurity Tips

Cybercriminals have become very savvy in their attempts to steal your personal information. Don't make it easy for them! Make sure your equipment and devices are protected and review some of our best practices to help keep malware, hackers, and thieves at bay.  

Safe home network

Home Network

Make sure your home network's wireless router is secure:  

  • Don't use the manufacturer's default ID or password
    • Change your router name to something that won't be easily guessed or obvious to others. Avoid using your last name or address. Instead, consider using the first letters from a phrase you love. 
      • For example turn the phrase "You're gonna need a bigger boat" into Ygnabb
    • Update your password: ensure it is at least 12 characters long and has mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. Think of it as more of a passphrase. 
  • Ensure your router security protocol is sufficient: WEP is an older standard, look for WPA or WPA2, both of which are more secure options. 
  • Create a separate guest network for visitors, check with your wireless provider for instructions. 
  • Use a firewall
  • Use caution when plugging in USBs
Mobile Device

Mobile Devices

Many cell phones have security features that are build into their operating systems, so make sure you apply updates to your phone when they are available, and: 

  • Secure your device with a strong code/password
  • Be selective when installing apps and check user reviews, app permissions, and data sharing policies
  • Use security and privacy settings on websites and apps
  • Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use
Safe Web Search

Connect Carefully 

Security features are great, but you have to do your part! Make sure you follow these best practices to ensure you aren't oversharing information: 

  • Don't access personal accounts over an unsecured wireless network
  • Avoid sharing too much information on social media, such as your maiden name, or the name of your kid(s) or pet(s)
  • Protect all devices that connect to the internet
    • Set parental controls for younger kids to help keep them off of questionable sites
  • Do not save card information or "remember passwords" on sites you frequent
  • Use multi-factor authentication when available. This security feature helps fortify your online accounts by requiring two types of credentials when logging in. 
  • Check for and update anti-virus software frequently
  • Back up your system using a secure hard drive and store this safely in a fireproof box
Phishing Email

Learn How to Spot Phishing Scams

These fake messages "lure" you by creating a false and often urgent scenario that directs you to click on a link, open an attachment, or give out personal information. Be cautious with all unsolicited emails, tests, and phone calls, especially those that:

  • Ask for personal information or account numbers
  • Ask you to "verify" or "decline" pending transactions 
  • Use fear tactics and call for immediate action
  • Urge you to click on a link or open an attachment 
    • For example they may say "Your account with XYZ has been suspended due to suspicious activity! Verify these transactions by clicking on the link below."
  • Contain poor spelling or grammar
  • Have company branding or formatting that is not quite right

A good rule of thumb is to confirm these messages with the sender by reaching out to them using the contact information from their website, or another verified source. Do not respond by calling phone numbers or clicking on links within the message!


Use Strong Passwords/Passphrases

  • Create a passphrase that is easy to remember but hard to guess
  • Make it at least 12 characters (use 16 or more when possible)
  • Mix it up
    • Use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters
    • Try replacing common letters with characters. For example replace the letter "a" with the % sign, or the "i" with an exclamation point to create a more complex passphrase
      • For example: St%rW%rs3!smyf%vor!te4ever!
  • Consider using a password manager to help you store login credentials
  • Use different passwords for different accounts
  • Periodically change your passwords
  • Never share your passwords with others
Credit Card

Protect Credit and Debit Cards

Cybercriminals are always coming up with new ways to obtain your credit/debit card account information! Shop safely online and in person. 

  • Only do business with reputable vendors and sites that your trust
    • Look for the https:// or a locked symbol in the URL bar
  • Pay with your phone: tools like Apple Pay can make paying a bit safer since the merchant never collects your credit card numbers
  • Use card verification protections like Visa® Purchase Alerts
  • Be aware of your surroundings when you use your cards
    • Check for shoulder surfers or people who could be taking pictures of your card
  • Watch out for skimmers: look for irregularities in the card slot a point of sale terminals, ATMs, and at gas station pumps
  • Set-up transaction alerts so you receive notifications whenever a purchase is made

Financial education content is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as specific legal or tax advice.


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