Six Good Cybersecurity Habits to Practice
By: Lindsey Fredericks
As we mark Cybersecurity Awareness month, online scams and threats unfortunately remain a top concern. In 2022 alone, businesses lost about $4.35 million to data breaches and 1 in 5 Internet users were exposed via email. Here in Pennsylvania, cyberattacks have been increasing. In response, the commonwealth created the PA Cyber Security Center to train the next generations of cybersecurity professionals. You can do your part to protect yourself from cyber threats at home and at work by adding these cybersecurity good habits to your daily routine.
- Create a hard-to-guess password. Don’t use public information like names, birthdays, etc.
- Don’t re-use old passwords.
- Create a new password for each login, so that if one is compromised it only affects that one account, not all your accounts.
- Set up multi-factor authentication wherever possible.
- Change your passwords every few months. Set a calendar reminder so you don’t forget.
- Avoid writing down your usernames and passwords. Consider a password manager program instead.
- Enable Face ID on your devices when possible.
- Instead of a password, use a passphrase. This could be a saying that you’ll remember but wouldn’t be easy for others to guess.
Avoid Unsecured Wi-Fi
Some public Wi-Fi networks are unsecured, meaning you don’t have to enter a password or register for an account before connecting to the network. Using unsecured Wi-Fi is okay for general use–sending messages, checking email, browsing the Internet–but you should avoid online shopping and logging into your bank or credit card accounts. Unsecured Wi-Fi is vulnerable to hackers who could steal your payment information or login credentials if you enter them while connected to an open network.
On the other hand, secured Wi-Fi networks are password-protected and/or require users to register with the network. This includes your home Wi-Fi network.
To boost your security and privacy when using public Wi-Fi networks, you could invest in a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which creates a secure connection between your device and the Wi-Fi network it’s connected to.
Install software updates
All devices (phones, laptops, tablets) and apps run on software. Software updates become available whenever a fix, improvement, or patch is available. It’s important to install software updates asap, not just for the improvements and new features, but also for the latest security. If you don’t keep your devices and software up to date, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to hackers who could exploit security weaknesses to access your personal information and data.
Turn on automatic software updates whenever possible. Then you won’t have to remember to manually install software updates. Be sure to install anti-virus software on your computers and keep this up to date as well.
Keep your hardware up to date
Older devices may not support the latest security patches or software updates. This makes your laptop computer, mobile phone, etc. more vulnerable to a cyber-attack. Budget and save for new devices once your existing ones can no longer be updated.
Back up important files
If all your data is saved locally on your devices, it will be gone (and possibly stolen) if your device is lost, stolen, or hacked. Backing up your data with an external hard drive and/or storing it in the cloud will protect you from the loss of important, sensitive information.
Know how to spot phishing emails and scams
Phishing is a type of cyber scam in which scammers try to trick you by posing as a legitimate person or institution. For example, you receive an email or text message that is purportedly from your bank or a well-known company like Amazon or PayPal. The message claims there’s a problem with your account and you need to click a link or open an attachment to get it resolved. However, once you enter your login credentials or other account information in the fake website, the scammer can run with that information to steal your identity or money.
Learn how to spot and avoid phishing scams:
- There is a sense of urgency such as “limited time deal” or “your account will be suspended.”
- The offer is too good to be true, such as winning money or a prize.
- You’re instructed to click on a link. Hover your cursor over the link to view the full URL before clicking. Or visit the supposed website on your own instead of clicking on the link.
- Don’t open or download attachments you weren’t expecting.
- Look for grammatical and spelling errors, as well as names that are slightly “off.”
- Romance scams involve long-distance online dating relationships. After “love bombing” you and gaining your trust, your supposed paramour starts asking for money.
- As peer-to-peer payment apps like Venmo, Zelle, etc. become more popular, scammers are trying to steal your money through payment app scams. Contact your bank or the app directly if you think there’s a problem with your account. Be careful when purchasing things like concert tickets and merchandise with a payment app. Check the policy for getting your money back if it turns out to be a scam.
Always remember that banks and other reputable companies will never ask for your full social security number, bank account number, credit/debit card number, or other personal or financial information over the phone. Always call your bank or the company in question directly if you have questions about your account.
Citizens Savings Bank is here to help!
We’ve been serving Northeastern Pennsylvania for more than 120 years, long before anyone had to worry about online scams. To help you stay protected from cyberattacks, check out these resources and tips.
For more information about cybersecurity, visit:
- Pennsylvania Cybersecurity Center
- Cybersecurity Resources | Homeland Security
- Cyber Resource Hub | CISA
- Cyber Security
Get more online safety tips from Citizens Savings Bank:
- Fraud & Scam Alerts | Citizens Savings Bank | Scranton, Clarks Summit, Honesdale, Mt. Pocono - PA
- Protecting Your Financial Security | Citizens Savings Bank | Scranton, Clarks Summit, Honesdale, Mt. Pocono - PA
- Cybersecurity in 2022- What About Your Cell Phone?
If you have any questions about your Citizens Savings Bank account, contact us.
Citizens Savings Bank has multiple locations throughout Lackawanna, Wayne, and Monroe Counties. For branch locations and hours, visit our website. We also have a Customer Support Team ready to answer any questions you may have. Call us today at 1.800.692.6279 or email [email protected]. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.