By: Ron Schwarz, Chief Retail Officer
October marks the 10th Anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) and Lakeland Bank is taking this opportunity to educate our customers on creating a safe, secure, and protected cyber environment. We enjoy the benefits and convenience that the Internet provides just as much as you do. Yet, for all the Internet’s advantages, it can also be a place where users are vulnerable to fraud, identity theft and other scams.
According to the Norton Cybercrime Report, 556 million adults worldwide were victims of cybercrime in 2012. Cybercrime, simply defined, is any illegal activity that uses a computer as its primary means of application to commit a crime. This can include activities such as phishing, pharming, distributing viruses, and identity theft.
STOP. THINK. CONNECT.
Cyber security begins with this simple message. Take security and safety precautions, understand the consequences of your actions and behaviors online and enjoy the benefits of the Internet.
Before you use the Internet, take time to understand the risks and learn how to spot potential problems.
Watch for warning signs and consider how your actions online could impact your financial safety.
Enjoy the Internet with greater confidence, knowing you’ve taken the right steps to safeguard yourself and your computer.
As part of NCSAM, Lakeland Bank offers individuals and small business owners these tips to prevent cyber-attacks on their financial accounts and identity theft:
Small Business Accounts
- Educate your employees. You and your employees are the first line of defense to protect your corporate accounts. Train employees to recognize and avoid suspicious emails and to never share account information.
- Protect your online environment. Encrypt sensitive data and keep updated anti-virus/spyware software on all computers. Never use unprotected Internet connections. Using a dedicated computer in your office that is not used for web surfing or checking email is highly recommended.
- Partner with your bank to prevent unauthorized transactions. Talk to your banker about programs such as Positive Pay Fraud Protection, which provides daily monitoring reports of suspicious check payments drawn on your account, so you can stop any potential losses before they happen.
- Shop smart and safe. When shopping online, be sure the website uses secure technology. When at the checkout screen, verify the web address begins with https and check to see that a small locked padlock appears on the page.
- Set strong passwords. A strong password is at least eight characters in length and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters.
- Watch out for phishing scams. They utilize fraudulent emails to trick users into disclosing private account and log in information. Don’t click on links or open any attachments from sources you are not familiar with.
- Update computer software, web browsers, and operating systems, regularly. Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.
Mobile & Social Media Security
- Protect your device. Always use a passcode lock on your smartphone. This will make it more difficult to access personal data if your device is lost or stolen.
- Install updates to smartphone applications and firmware regularly. If you neglect to do so, it increases the risk of having your device compromised.
- Log out. Always log out completely when you finish a mobile banking session.
- Review and customize privacy settings. Research your social network’s default account settings and make sure to customize your personal privacy settings in order to share information only with the people you choose.
- Keep personal information personal. Hackers use social media profiles to figure out or reset passwords with answers to security questions which can often be found there. Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know to protect information like your birthday, mother’s maiden name, pets name, etc.
At Lakeland Bank, we believe it is the Bank’s responsibility to help raise awareness of these important issues among consumers. Through LakelandBank.com, the Simply Speaking Blog and YouTube, we feature quality resources designed to keep our customers educated on these topics, and we encourage you to visit us often. In addition, all of our consumer Checking Accounts provide our customers with benefits of Identity Theft Protection.
Please share these important tips with your family and friends.