cyber security 

Protect your small business and yourself with just a few key steps. 

October is National Cybersecurity Month which offers the opportunity to really take a hard look at a few of the threats that are out there. People are more aware than ever of the importance of security, but there are some simple steps that can help protect your business and your personal assets. Being aware of the threats and taking action can save you precious time and money.  

Phishing scams are on the rise.

As with so many other repercussions of COVID-19, fraud is on the rise as well.  When people receive fraudulent emails, texts or calls from scammers pretending to be banks, that is typically referred to as a phishing scam, and every day thousands of people fall victim. Scammers are taking advantage of the fear and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, as well as the expanded use of digital banking platforms, and tricking consumers into giving up their personal and financial information.

If you receive an email, text, or phone call asking for confidential information, it’s a definite red flag. It’s better to be safe than sorry. End the call, delete the text, and trash the email. You may be asked to verify confidential information if you call your bank, but never the other way around. If you receive an incoming call from someone claiming to be your bank, the safest thing you can do is hang up and call your bank’s customer service number.

Password security is simpler than you think.

Password security is more important now than ever before as fraud cases continue to rise. You should never reuse passwords, especially on sensitive websites like your banking login. Keeping up with so many different passwords these days can be challenging, but storing them on secure websites like Lastpass or Keeper can help you keep up with all of them and also secure them. These same sites can also generate strong, unique passwords when needed. Don’t share your usernames and passwords with anyone and be cautious if anyone emails, texts or calls you asking for this information.

Which Wi-Fi can you trust?

Part of protecting your information now relies on the security of your wireless network. There are a few easy steps to ensure that your Wi-Fi is secure. Many of the details for these steps will be in your router user manual or online.

1) Turn on WPA2 encryption on your wireless router. WPA2 – Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 is now the standard and it is hacker resistant.

2) A Service Set Identifier (SSID) is the name of your Wi-Fi network. A router comes with a standard, default ID assigned by the manufacturer. Hacker are pros at figuring out the type of router you have and cracking its encryption, so it's essential to change the SSID to something unique and do not publicize it.

3)  Create a strong router password – most come with a pre-set password that is easy to hack.  Make sure you change it to something fairly complicated with a mix of upper and lowercase letters with symbols and numbers. 

4) Consider enabling and configuring the built-in firewall (details will be in your support manual or online).

5) Turn off admin privilege on your router – when this is done changes can only be made by someone who is connected with an ethernet cable.

Protect your credentials just like you would protect your money.

Your sensitive business information should be guarded the same way you protect your personal information. Think of it more like protecting your own money. You would not share the details of your bank account or credit card information, so don’t share your credentials that will give people access to your personal information. Do not share any credentials on platforms that aren’t secure, including email and text.  And remember that personal email servers are particularly vulnerable to phishing and hacking attempts, so do everything you can to set up protection levels.

Secure your devices.

Securing your personal devices is not only important, but it is easier than you may think. Use strong passwords and if your device allows two-factor authentication, use it! Avoid using “remember me” features on your device because if it falls into the wrong hands that person now has access to your personal information.

When you use public or free Wi-Fi on a device, make sure it is secure. Most free Wi-Fi points are not encrypted.  There are applications available that can tell you if your connection is secure.

Here are just a few other safe guards that will help to secure your devices:
Encrypt your devices
Install an antivirus application
Update to the latest software
Avoid autofill options
Logout of mobile apps when you are not using them

Test your cybersecurity.

Want to test your skills at spotting a scam? Take the American Bankers Association's #BanksNeverAskThat quiz.

For more helpful tips on cybersecurity, visit our security page.


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