When it comes to your finances, you can never be too secure – especially when dealing with extremely personal information over the internet. While most of us think we’re pretty savvy about online safety, you’d be surprised by the simple but important steps you might be skipping. We spoke to our Information Security experts to get the scoop on a few small changes that can make a big difference.
- Upgrade your technology and keep your systems up to date.
It’s tempting to hit “ignore” on those annoying software and browser update notifications, but making sure you’re running the latest version of your browser and operating system helps prevent vulnerabilities in the system, and makes online banking systems run more smoothly.
- Make sure you have antivirus and malware protection, even on your phone.
A good antivirus software can block viruses, malware and phishing on your Mac or PC, and identify unsafe links before you click on them. While it’s much less common to get viruses or malware (software that is intentionally designed to cause damage to a device or network) on a phone than it is a computer, it is possible. Companies such as Avast, Symantec (Norton) and Sophos all have trustworthy apps that can help protect your smartphone. Before downloading, make sure to check the reviews in the app store, as there have been several instances of scam antivirus apps posing as legitimate ones.
Signs of malware include unexpected data loss, new/unknown plug-ins and search bars, unknown files on a desktop, unexplained movement of text characters on screen, and unusual system display changes in wallpaper, screensaver, time or homepage.
- Be smarter about your smartphone.
Our phones are always on us these days, but that doesn’t mean we’re the only ones who can see information on them. Make sure your screen locks automatically and is password protected. You may also consider adding a dual multifactor code to your device to ensure that you’re the only person who can access your account, even if someone else has your password. Here’s how to do it on Apple and Android phones.
Another “note” to the wise: never store sensitive data such as passwords or account information in the “Notes” section of your smartphone. When using your mobile browser for online banking or any other secure interactions, make sure to clear your browser history, just as you would on your computer. Last but not least, avoid using public Wifi to conduct online or mobile banking.
- Never walk away from your screen.
You might think twice about leaving an unlocked cell phone just lying around, so why do the same with your laptop or desktop? If you’re banking online, make sure you’ve signed out of your session before getting up, and get into the habit of locking your screen every time you get out of your chair.
- Don’t get lazy about passwords.
Everyone from your financial institution to your local pizza place might demand a tediously long password with numbers, characters and other unique combinations these days, but having a complex password is just the beginning of password security. What many of us fail to do is to create a unique password for your various internet accounts. After all, if your password falls into the wrong hands, those hands will now know the password to everything. Of course, it is quite cumbersome to remember a dozen or more crazy passwords. That’s why there’s a number of safe, free or low-cost password management tools, such as LastPass and 1Password.
Think outside the box when creating passwords, too. Don’t limit yourself to random numbers and letters. A lyric from your favorite song or line from a TV show (plus some special characters sprinkled in) can make it easier and more fun to remember your passwords.
On your mobile device, it’s actually more secure to set up touch ID, so go ahead and choose this option whenever it is available to you. Hackers can figure out your password, but chances are they can’t replicate your unique fingerprint!
- Check your account frequently.
Even if you’ve taken every step to protect your online banking information, it’s always a good idea to check in to your account frequently to make sure there is no suspicious or fraudulent activity. The earlier you can catch fishy behavior, the earlier your financial institution can put an end to it and put any owed funds back into your account.
Remember that Service Credit Union will never solicit you for your personal information. We take every step to keep your information safe and secure, and are here 24/7 to answer any questions you may have. For more ways to keep on top of internet threats, visit our Security Info page.