The increasing use of the internet has made cyber and data security an important focus area for community banks. With the rise in online activity and massive amounts of data flowing over the web, fraudulent activity has also increased substantially. Consumers reported losing over $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021, marking a 70% increase over the prior year.
Anderson Brothers Bank and other community banks have been working hard to protect their customers by implementing industry standards and procedures to safeguard electronic systems, data applications, and networks from interference. Additionally, they provide routine cybersecurity training to their staff to help spot and thwart attacks.
Avoid Becoming a Victim
The following are some best practices to consider:
- Enable the strongest multifactor authentication offered by our bank. Popular authentication methods include biometrics and separate authenticator apps.
- Use unique passphrases as passwords and differentiate them across multiple platforms. Length trumps complexity. A strong passphrase is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long.
- Do a system check. Purge unused apps and outdated or sensitive information stored in old files and emails and ensure all software on internet-connected devices is current.
- Manage social media settings and minimize information sharing. Just a few data points can create a pathway for exploitation by cybercriminals.
- Use Wi-Fi judiciously: Limit the type of business conducted over public Wi-Fi connections, including logging in to key accounts like banking. When making purchases away from your home or work network, use a virtual private network or mobile hotspot.
Protect Your Account
Consumers can also make sure their account has not been compromised by taking the following steps to:
- Monitor account activity regularly for transaction irregularities and report discrepancies to your bank.
- Back up intellectual property and other digital information and store it safely so in the unfortunate event of a ransomware or other cyber threats you can retrieve the data.
- Read the fine print when purchasing items online. Do not save credit and debit card credentials on a merchant’s website or app, if prompted.
- Stay vigilant. Be mindful when shopping online and look for signs of illegitimate websites. Spelling or grammatical errors, missing contact information, and suspicious URLs or email addresses are all red flags.
- Look for special indicators such as web addresses with https:// that denote extra measures taken to help secure your information.
Respond to a Data Breach
In the unfortunate event of a data breach, there are steps you can take to minimize your exposure:
- Consider a security freeze on your credit report to restrict access to your credit file.
- Set up a fraud alert, which directs banks to verify your identity before opening a new account, issuing an additional card, or increasing the credit limit on an existing account.
- Report stolen finances or identities and other cybercrime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center and to your local law enforcement and/or state attorney general.
Working together, we can take a bite out of cybercrime by shoring up our defenses.