What is cybersecurity?
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities, cybersecurity is the body of technologies, processes and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access.
A few helpful tips to keep in mind so that you can keep yourself safe:
- Never respond to emails, phone calls or texts that request your personal information
- Be cautious about what you share about yourself on social media
- Never share your passwords with anyone
- Make sure your online passwords are complex (a combination of at least 8 upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters), and avoid using birthdates, family member names, or anything else that can be easily guessed
- Instead of thinking of it as just a password, consider using passphrases whenever possible. For example, select the first letter of each word in a sentence or phrase, then replace some of the letters with numbers or special characters to create something that is easy for you to remember, but impossible for others to guess.
For more information and helpful tips on cybersecurity, protecting your smartphone, online shopping and more, click here for a helpful video from the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities or here to visit their website.
Whether online conducting professional business or in a personal capacity, vigilance is the key to protecting yourself, your business, and your finances.
Cybersecurity Timely Topics
To keep our customers up to date with the latest tips and information on cybersecurity, every month, we will provide you with a new topic.
For this month's topic we are focusing on the next steps to take after "a hacker breaks into your computer."
Follow this seven-step checklist if you’re unfortunate enough to fall victim to this cybercrime.
This information is from the “Kim Komando” Kim Komando (2/08/2023).
To learn more, please visit The Kim Komando Show.
February's Topic: Don't Answer Another Online Quiz Question Until You Read This
For February's topic, we focused on not answering another online quiz question until you read this.
"What do the model of your first car, your favorite hobby, and the high school you attended have in common? If you said they’re questions commonly used for online account security and online quizzes, you’re correct! Before you take a quiz to find out which Marvel character you are, ask yourself: Do I know who’s gathering this information about me — or what they plan to do with it?
Personality tests, quick surveys, and other types of online quizzes ask seemingly harmless questions, but the more information you share, the more you risk it being misused. Scammers could do a lot of damage with just a few answers that give away your personal information. We’ve heard about scammers phishing for answers to security question data through quizzes.
This information is from the "Federal Trade Commission Consumer Advice" Terri Miller (1/11/2023).
To learn more information, please visit Federal Trade Commission Consumer Advice.
January's Topic: How To Dispose Of Your Mobile Device
For January's topic, we focused on how to dispose of your mobile device.
"Mobile devices, such as smartphones, smart watches, and tablets, continue to advance and innovate at an astonishing rate. As a result, you may be replacing a new device as often as every year. Unfortunately, you may not realize just how much personal data are on your devices — far more than your computer."
This information is from the "SANS Institute” Heather Mahalik (12/7/2022).
To learn tips, please visit SANS Institute.
December's Topic: A Privacy Mistake You Might Be Making On Social Media
For December's topic, we focused on a privacy mistake you might be making on social media
"It’s a given that you’re giving up a degree of privacy when using social media. You’re putting your name and photos out there for anyone to see, not to mention any personal information you include in your profile and comments. And your clicks and likes are all being tracked.
When you create an account with Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, you’re asked if you’d like to sync your contacts so you can more easily find friends, family and business associates. Here’s why you should stop doing that right now."
This information is from "The Kim Komando Show” Albert Khoury (11/8/2022).
To learn tips, please visit The Kim Komando Show.
November's Topic: Three Common Online Banking Mistakes
For November's topic, we focused on three common online banking mistakes.
"The internet has made banking easier than ever. The days of standing in line waiting for a teller to call you to the window are long gone. But online banking does come with risks. As with anything connected to the internet, there’s always the chance for hackers and scammers to get involved. That’s why you need to be proactive in protecting your finances. Here are three mistakes that could put your money at risk and ways to avoid them.
This information is from "The Kim Komando Show” Charlie Fripp (10/10/2022).
To learn what three mistakes could put your money at risk and ways to avoid them, please visit The Kim Komando Show.
October's Topic: Avoid a Common PayPal Phishing Scam
For October's topic, we focused on a common PayPal phishing scam.
"Scammers are using invoices sent through PayPal.com to trick recipients into calling a number to dispute a pending charge. The missives — which come from Paypal.com and include a link at Paypal.com that displays an invoice for the supposed transaction — state that the user’s account is about to be charged hundreds of dollars. Recipients who call the supplied toll-free number to contest the transaction are soon asked to download software that lets the scammers assume remote control over their computer.
This information is from "Krebson Security” (8/18/2022).
To learn tips, please visit Krebson Security.
Prevent Phishing Scams
The Federal Trade Commission’s report on fraud estimates that American consumers lost a staggering $3.3 billion to these phishing schemes and other fraud in 2020.
Some of the most common methods are scammers pretending to be from your bank, by texting, emailing, or calling asking for confidential information. Help prevent these scams, by being aware of potential red flags and being more confident in knowing banks would never ask that.
American Bankers Association recommends the following tips to protect your accounts before scammers strike:
- Set up multi-factor authentication on your bank and email login.
- Use random or complex passwords.
- Call your bank directly, or log in to your account, to verify messages or emails received.
- Keep your browser up-to-date with the latest defenses, like virus protection and malware alerts.
To learn more about how to prevent this crime, please visit the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information.
VPN Use During International Travel
Logging into your online banking applications, email, and social media while traveling abroad, even from your own devices, can be dangerous for your sensitive information. One way to protect yourself from cybercrime while traveling abroad is to utilize a Virtual Private Network service or VPN.
A VPN Connection establishes a secure connection between you and the internet creating a virtual encrypted tunnel your data is routed through.
Although Peoples Security Bank & Trust cannot endorse any one particular VPN solution, websites like www.security.org have recent articles reviewing many different types of VPNs for domestic and international travel that could help you to choose the best fit for your circumstances.
Here are some additional resources we have identified that may help to keep your private and sensitive information safe while traveling abroad:
The links below are provided for you to learn more about cybersecurity. We encourage you to take some time to look critically at your business and personal habits, evaluate any potential cybersecurity risks, and use these resources and others to implement best practices as we all move forward into this next phase of our digital future.
The information regarding cybersecurity on this page, including the links above, was provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities.
How can you make your password more secure? Your online banking password is the key to your personal and financial information. If anyone knows your password, they can use it to steal from you or pose as you in online transactions. Here are some simple tips to make your online banking experience safer.
- Install a reputable antivirus software program on all computers and keep them current.
- Make your password as long and complex as possible.
- Make it easy to remember, but hard to guess. Use a combination of letters and numbers you know, but would not make sense to others. Combine initials, important numbers and, if you are feeling particularly adventurous, a special character such as @ or # or $ or &. Use a mixture of upper and lower case letters. A good password could be: J18mo$64!DkZ.
- Use a different password. Use a different password for each website. Do not use your online banking password for other websites.
- Use trustworthy computers. Shared public computers like those in airport lounges, Internet cafes, public libraries, and hotel lobbies could be connected to keystroke loggers or infected with password-stealing viruses. Do not use them to access online banking or other websites containing confidential information about you.
- Never email your password or respond to an emailed request for your password or other confidential information. We will never ask you to submit confidential information in an email. Email travels the Internet in much the same way as a postcard travels through the U.S. Mail. There is no "envelope" to protect the contents from prying eyes. There is never a reason for anyone but you to know your password. Requests for your passwords via email are most assuredly scams.
- Do not include your login name in your password. Similarly, any part of your login name is a poor choice for a password.
- Avoid predictable sequences of characters, such as "1234" or "abcd," in your password. Automated password crackers often start by guessing predictable sequences such as these.
- Avoid dictionary words or names. Words in any language can be determined by automated password crackers that also contain multi-lingual dictionaries.
Laptop and Mobile Device Security Tips
The feature we love most about our laptop and mobile devices is the mobility, but that is also what makes them easy targets for thieves. While replacing a stolen laptop or mobile device can be expensive, the value of the data it contains may well exceed the cost of the laptop or mobile device itself.
Here are a few tips to protect your laptop or mobile device and the information it contains:
- Treat it like cash. Imagine a stack of money equal to what your laptop or mobile device is worth. Would you leave that amount of money on a coffee shop table while you refresh your latte? Probably not. Picturing your device as a stack of cash will help you to be more vigilant.
- Keep it locked. No matter where you are using your laptop or mobile device, attach it to something immovable or to a heavy piece of furniture with a security cable.
- Encrypt the data. You can protect your personal data even if your laptop or mobile device goes missing by encrypting the hard disk. There are a number of commercial products available that will prevent your device from even starting up without a password.
- Keep your passwords elsewhere. Leaving your passwords in your laptop or mobile device carrying case is like leaving the keys in your car. Memorize your passwords or store them securely elsewhere - not in the carrying case or on the laptop or mobile device itself.
- Leave your computer bag at home. When you take your laptop on the road, carrying it in a computer case may advertise what's inside. Consider using a suitcase, a padded briefcase or a backpack instead.
- Do not leave it in the car. Not only is the extreme heat and cold in your car bad for your laptop or mobile device, but parked cars are a favorite target of thieves. If you must leave your device in your car, keep it out of sight by placing it in the trunk.
- Pay close attention at airport security checkpoints. The chaos and confusion at airport security checkpoints make them perfect for thieves. Additionally, because so many laptop and mobile devices look the same, it is easy to pick up the wrong one on the other side of the screener. Mark your laptop or mobile device distinctly different so that you can easily track it as you go through security. Hold onto it until the person in front of you has gone through the metal detector - and keep an eye out when it emerges on the other side of the screener.
- Be vigilant in hotels. Try not to leave your laptop or mobile device out in the open in your hotel room while you are out. Instead, take it with you or use the safe in your room if there is one.
- Report it promptly. If your laptop or mobile device is stolen, report it immediately to the local authorities. If it is your business device that is missing, also immediately notify your employer.