Category: Security

Cyber Security 101 – Learning the Basics to Keep Yourself Protected

Welcome to Cyber Security 101. Grab your pen and paper, it’s time to take some notes about cyber security! While there won’t be a test at the end, there are real-world consequences to disregarding your online security. You wouldn’t want your personal information in the hands of the wrong person.

With so much to think about, you’re probably wondering where you’re supposed to start. Luckily for you, First Security State Bank is here to school you in all things cyber security.

Careful Clicking – Between social media, websites and emails, we’re clicking on things all the time. Sometimes these links can be associated with what’s called “phishing attacks.” This is a tactic used to gather your personal data, like passwords and credit card numbers. Most of the time this type of attack occurs within an email. That’s why it’s critical to verify email addresses from trusted entities you know. Never open documents from these unusual email senders.

Password Protection – Creating complex passwords may seem like a no-brainer but about 35 percent of users have weak passwords and about 65 percent of passwords could be cracked. The goal should be to make it something that’s unrelated to you, so not using your birthday, your dog’s name, etc. We suggest using a password generator, or even making your password a sentence.

We understand you log into numerous accounts daily, and you can’t possibly remember all of these unique passwords. Even though your password list could be three feet long, you should never write them on a sticky note and perch them on your computer screen. Check out password management apps to help you keep all of your passwords in order.

Savvy Shopping

Online shopping continues to grow and is more enticing with offers like free shipping, online exclusive products and sales. With such a shift in purchasing habits, our security habits should also be changing. You should only be shopping on secure sites, which can be identified by the “https” at the start of the web address. If there’s no “s”, the site is not encrypted and your information may not be secure.

Another way to protect yourself is to never give more information than required. If they don’t ask for your phone number or address, do not provide it. This information could fall into the wrong hands. Always be sure to read their privacy policy so you know where your information is going and how it’s being used.

Staying Up to Date

If you don’t already, now is the perfect time to get an antivirus or antimalware software program for your internet accessible devices. These programs work to protect your devices and help you stay ahead of any attempts to break security on your computer.

For those who have a security program in place, make sure you’re updating the software regularly. Software companies are constantly working to fight potential security risks, so whenever there’s an update available take the time to download it.

We hope you took some great notes and are ready to tackle all things cyber security. By taking these few steps you can help protect yourself from a world of trouble and inconvenience. If you have any more questions about cyber security, contact us today. We’d be happy to answer your questions. Class dismissed!

 

How to Financially Prepare for Natural Disasters

When it comes to preparing your finances for certain occasions, natural disasters usually aren’t one of the events that come to mind. However, not creating an emergency fund for the unexpected could hurt you immensely since Mother Nature doesn’t care whether you’re prepared or not. That’s why First Security Bank has put together a few tips on how you can ready yourself for a natural disaster.

Make Your Fund A Priority

While some disasters come with a warning, others do not. If you try to prepare too quickly and scramble to figure out what the best strategy for saving your emergency fund is, things will fall apart. Adding to your fund by taking a little out of each paycheck will help you to begin saving quickly. For example, an emergency fund of $500 would be able to pay for a small family’s hotel, transportation, or food if a disaster occurred.

Have Cash On Hand

When being forced to evacuate, ATMs may be overrun or go down, meaning there is no way for you to get cash. Power can go out, leaving debit and credit cards useless. By having cash on hand, you will be able to know that you can purchase necessities when an event occurs.

Document

Be sure to have a fireproof and waterproof box with documents you will need to pick up the pieces after a disaster. You will need documents that have numbers and information to your bank, creditors, health insurance, and property insurance. By having your personal, legal, health, and financial documents together, moving through the disaster will be a much smoother process. Other documents to include would be passports, birth certificates, health records, social security cards, bank routing numbers, deeds, income tax information, and more.

Take Inventory

Be sure to take videos and photos of your belongings. Photograph the interior and exterior of your home along with your vehicle. By documenting all of your belongings and the state they were in, you can be sure that your insurance company won’t shortchange you.

We don’t ever hope a natural disaster will strike, but it’s better to be prepared if something does occur. By having some cash on hand when disaster strikes, you will have a foolproof plan to help aid in your recovery. Contact THIS BANK to set up an emergency fund or to understand what more you can do in order to be prepared financially!

 

Tips for Cyber-Security When it comes to Your Mobile Device

Odds are, you’re probably reading this blog post on your cell phone, which you found through an app on your smartphone and then used it to get directions to First Security State Bank. Seventy-seven percent of Americans now own a smartphone and use it on a daily basis. With so many people accessing, searching and downloading things on their cell phones, are we really using the same caution and protection we would use when it comes to our computers? Odds also are, you’re not. With a few tips, you can start better protecting your smartphone from things like data theft, malware and privacy invasion.

Needed Protection: You may be wondering what exactly needs to be protected when it comes to your smart phone. Luckily, they can be broken down into three categories.

  1. Device Protection – In case your phone was ever stolen, this kind of protection would wipe all information and data from your phone, which is beneficial if you utilize mobile or online banking.
  2. Data Protection – This protection was designed to keep work information from place of employment from being spread to your personal apps.
  3. App-Management Security – Having login information, credit card information and other personal information within apps should be protected from falling into the wrong hands. App-management security does just that.

Trusted Apps: Not all apps are created equal. Since it’s becoming increasingly easier for third-parties to create apps this means there are more apps out there than there’s ever been. One way to help protect yourself is to only download apps from the trusted app store. You should also review existing apps’ privacy policies and settings for permissions.

Public Wi-Fi: One thing you should know is public Wi-Fi is generally not secure. Hackers can get in-between you and the Wi-Fi connection point and when you’re submitting information on your phone you’re actually sending it to the hacker. It’s recommended to protect yourself using a VPN, which encrypts your data, essentially scrambling the information.

Jailbreaking Phones: While it may seem like the cool thing to do to format your phone without the factory standards, you’re actually setting your phone for several security risks. One of those risks is Malware and loss of personal information.

We hope these tips can better protect you and your smartphone. There are several companies that can protect your mobile devices, including Norton Mobile Security and McAfee Mobile Security. If you have any questions or concerns about you protecting yourself, we encourage you to contact us. Our team would love to assist you.

 

True or False: Catch Me if You Can

Check Fraud

Starting in 1963, Frank Abagnale began his criminal career. Made famous from the film, Catch Me if You Can, this mastermind of forgery made a name for himself at a young age by impersonating pilots, lawyers, and doctors. Throughout these impersonations, Frank found new and inventive ways to defraud the United States and at least eight other countries. When he was captured at age 21, he had defrauded multiple nations upwards of $1.3 million dollars. After serving five years of his twelve year federal sentencing, he agreed to work with the FBI to help investigate and proactively protect the United States from further check fraud.

As Frank’s history with the FBI began to grow, he started to share the distinctive patterns and signatures behind the best of check fraud criminals. See if you can determine which of these check fraud facts are true and which are just cinematic magic:

True or False? Big corporations such as Panam had a much higher risk of check fraud than small mom and pop shops.

FALSE:  Although Panam was depicted as the start of Frank’s larger check fraud scheme, large scale business models face less risk than most small businesses. Did you know one in four businesses have fell victim to fraud? While larger companies have internal security and protective insurances for such instances, most local businesses rely on their employees and their customers to ensure an honest and accurate transaction.

True or False? Paper check forgery still is prominent today.

TRUE: With small businesses as the largest targets, paper check fraud is still a relevant issue, even today. Often times, the culprit can be employees who write a business check to themselves. Other instances can be a vendor who is able to alter the ink on the check to reflect an amount that they would prefer. While there are many additional cyber fraud crimes possible today, the threat of a paper check fraud is still imminent.

True or False? This movie largely encourages check fraud and teaches criminals how to hone their craft.

FALSE: While this movie does display many techniques in producing fraudulent checks, the premier intention of the film is to educate both banks and businesses in what to look for concerning false checks. There are many simple markers and signs that a check may be a fake, and while the storyline depicts the various lifestyle choices of a criminal, it reveals in the end, that Frank Abagnale began to help the FBI identify these markers to prevent future check fraud.

What to look for in fraudulent checks straight from Frank Abagnale:

  • Keep any checks, deposit slips, or check re-orders under lock and key in a secure location. Many times those close to your business are the culprits in a check fraud crime.
  • Use Remote Deposit Capture from First Security State Bank.
  • When receiving a check in a transaction, scan the check to make sure it has a perforated edge, marking where it was torn from the checkbook.
  • Never cash a check you are unsure of. If something does not seem right, it is always safer to ask for further identity verification, or simply deny their request to cash the check.

If you’re curious how to keep your small business secure against check fraud, come by First Security State Bank today and speak with one of our local commercial lenders.