Five ways to keep your money and data safe
Few issues within the financial industry get more attention than cybersecurity and fraud.
Naturally, members/customers and bankers alike want peace of mind knowing that the money and data within their respective institutions stay there and only move in an authorized fashion. But there’s another compelling reason that bankers and members/customers alike should never take their eye off the cybersecurity ball: It’s always bouncing, moving, and changing. Just as technology evolves, so do the methods of attack.
Hackers are getting more sophisticated by the minute—learning from failure, adjusting, and trying again. And with the proliferation of mobile internet devices, vulnerabilities have only multiplied.
Thankfully, cyber attacks on financial institutions are largely unsuccessful. That’s no accident. In an effort to protect vast sums of money and data for its members/customers, financial institutions have led the way in the development of some of the most advanced cybersecurity platforms in the world.
Employee mindfulness is essential, too. Security awareness training programs have become a routine part of training curriculum. And it’s about more than just watching out for fraud; it’s also about managing money and data properly to avoid mistakes that leave assets exposed.
Doing your part
You play an important role in keeping your money and data safe. Here are five important security measures you can take to keep your online accounts safe from cyber attacks.
1. Change passwords. There’s no doubt that mobile internet devices have made banking easier. But there’s an important security issue you (and only you) control: Passwords. Change the passwords to your online banking accounts every few months. Don’t reuse old passwords. If you store your passwords on the internet device itself (like a smartphone), be sure that the device is password protected. Should you lose it or have it stolen, it’s useless to anyone else. For some of your most important accounts, consider two-factor authentication which requires a second device (such as a mobile phone) to verify your identity.
2. Update software. Those software updates you get from your device providers aren’t just to provide more features; they’re also loaded with security updates and patches. If you never update the software on your computer, phone or tablet, you’re open to attack. Criminals are counting on your forgetfulness.
3. Avoid public Wi-FI. Plain and simple, never exchange account information while connected to the internet through an open public Wi-Fi, which basically means that you are not prompted for a password when connecting. While it might be a free network, it’s anything but secure. Data transmitted via an unsecured Wi-Fi network can be easily captured by thieves. Caution should also be exercised even when connecting in a public space that seemingly offers secure Wi-Fi with a password; while intentions are generally good when offering this service, there can be loopholes that could potentially expose your private information. Wait until you can connect to a known and trusted secure Wi-Fi network (at home or in the office) to do transactions and exchange private information.
4. Don’t go phishing. Identity thieves sometimes go to great lengths to look legitimate and bait you into a click within email or text, also known as phishing. To avoid falling for a phishing trap, never click on links from unknown sources. Most legitimate financial institutions (KEMBA included) will not ask you for sensitive information or account numbers via email or text. Any such requests that come in text or email form should be reviewed carefully. If you feel like you have received a suspicious communication, call your credit union/bank directly.
5. Use bank alerts. Financial institutions (again, KEMBA included), routinely monitor your account and card activity. When a transaction doesn’t fit a normal pattern, it gets flagged for verification by you via an alert, often in real time. Sign up all of your accounts and cards for fraud alerts. It’s a free service, typically. It goes without saying that you should review your own accounts regularly and contact your financial institution immediately if you see any irregularities.