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Cybersecurity Resources

In today’s digital world, it’s important to understand cybersecurity and how to keep your personal and financial information safe from cyber threats. The links below provide information that will help keep you safe.

 

What is cybersecurity?

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities, cybersecurity is the body of technologies, processes and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access. 

A few helpful tips to keep in mind so that you can keep yourself safe:

  • Never respond to emails, phone calls or texts that request your personal information
  • Be cautious about what you share about yourself on social media
  • Never share your passwords with anyone
  • Make sure your online passwords are complex (a combination of at least 8 upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters), and avoid using birthdates, family member names, or anything else that can be easily guessed
    • Instead of thinking of it as just a password, consider using passphrases whenever possible. For example, select the first letter of each word in a sentence or phrase, then replace some of the letters with numbers or special characters to create something that is easy for you to remember, but impossible for others to guess.

For more information and helpful tips on cybersecurity, protecting your smartphone, online shopping and more, click here for a helpful video from the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities or here to visit their website

Whether online conducting professional business or in a personal capacity, vigilance is the key to protecting yourself, your business, and your finances. 

Cybersecurity Timely Topics

To keep our customers up to date with the latest tips and information on cybersecurity, every month, we will provide you with a new topic. 

For this month's topic, we are focusing on scammers pretending to be U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

"The latest twist is imposters who pose as agents and officers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Here’s how the ruse might play out. Scammers send you a recorded message saying illegal items were shipped in your name and have been intercepted. Or they might talk about a “diplomatic pouch.” Or tell you a warrant is out for your arrest. They’ll demand that you pay for more information using cryptocurrency, gift cards, or wire transfers, or tell you to give them your banking account or Social Security number. Don’t do it. It’s a scam."

This information is from the "Federal Trade Commission” Kira Brown (6/2/2022).

To learn tips, please visit the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information.

June's Topic: Vacation and Travel Security Tips

For June's topic, we focused on vacation and travel security tips.

"Many travelers rely on technology even more to enhance their experience. As you embark upon your next adventure, stay cyber safe while away from home by following some simple practices to help keep your devices safe and your vacation plans from going awry."

This information is from the "National Cybersecurity Alliance” (5/1/2022).

To learn tips, please visit the National Cybersecurity Alliance.

May's Topic: Avoiding Scam Texts from Your Own Number

For May's topic, we focused on scam texts coming from your own number.

"Scammers are always thinking up ways to put a new spin on their criminal tricks. This time, they’re sending spam texts to you — from your own phone number. They’ve changed (spoofed) the caller ID to look like they’re messaging you from your number, but the shock of getting a text from yourself is bound to get your attention — which is what they’re after. If you get a text from your own number, it’s a scam."

This information is from the "Federal Trade Commission” Andrew Rayo (4/11/2022).

To learn more about avoiding this type of scam, please visit the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information.

April's Topic: How To Avoid Verification Code Scams

For April's topic, we focused on verification code scams.

"You’ll rarely get random text messages or emails with links you didn’t ask for. That’s why you should be cautious. Instead of clicking on the link, reach out to the official organization and see if the messages were legitimate. It’s an extra step, but the effort is well worth it. If you don’t follow proper precautions, you could lose a ton of money. AARP says cons that started with text messages stole $86 million from Americans in 2020."

This information is from "The Kim Komando Show” Serena O'Sullivan (3/5/2022).

To learn more about avoiding this type of scam, please visit The Kim Komando Show.

March's Topic: How To Avoid QR Code Scams

For March's topic, we focused on QR code scams.

"A QR code is a square barcode that a smartphone camera can scan and read to provide quick access to a website, to prompt the download of an application, and to direct payment to an intended recipient. Businesses use QR codes legitimately to provide convenient contactless access and have used them more frequently during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, cybercriminals are taking advantage of this technology by directing QR code scans to malicious sites to steal victim data, embedding malware to gain access to the victim's device, and redirecting payment for cybercriminal use."

This information is from the “Federal Bureau of Investigation ” (1/18/2022).

To learn more about avoiding this type of scam, please visit the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internet Crime Complaint Center IC3.

February's Topic: Top 2022 Cybersecurity Threats

For February's topic, we focused on top cybersecurity threats for 2022 and what businesses can do to protect themselves.

Over 75% of cyber attacks start with someone opening a malicious email. These emails are designed to extract data from the recipient, usually a password, which is used to gain further access to an organization’s network. Once an account takeover has been successful, hackers are able to mount more sophisticated attacks.

This information is from “Global Banking & Finance Review” (1/19/2022).

To learn more about these threats, please visit Global Banking & Finance Review. 

January's Topic: How to Avoid a Money Mule Scam

For January's topic, we focused on how to avoid a money mule scam.

If you help a scammer move stolen money — even if you didn’t know it was stolen — you could get into legal trouble. You’ll be at financial risk, too. If you deposit a scammer’s check, it might clear at first. When it turns out to be a fake check, the bank will want you to repay the full amount. You may be charged fees, and your account may be overdrawn or closed. And using a scammer’s money to buy gift cards and turning over the PIN codes, or sending wire transfers is almost like sending cash. In both cases, the scammer gets the money quickly, and it’s almost impossible to recover.

This information is from the "Federal Trade Commission" Bridget Small (12/03/2021).

To learn more about how to prevent this crime, please visit the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information.

 

Prevent Phishing Scams

The Federal Trade Commission’s report on fraud estimates that American consumers lost a staggering $3.3 billion to these phishing schemes and other fraud in 2020.

Some of the most common methods are scammers pretending to be from your bank, by texting, emailing, or calling asking for confidential information. Help prevent these scams, by being aware of potential red flags and being more confident in knowing banks would never ask that. 

American Bankers Association recommends the following tips to protect your accounts before scammers strike: 

  • Set up multi-factor authentication on your bank and email login.
  • Use random or complex passwords.
  • Call your bank directly, or log in to your account, to verify messages or emails received.
  • Keep your browser up-to-date with the latest defenses, like virus protection and malware alerts.

To learn more about how to prevent this crime, please visit the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information

VPN Use During International Travel

Logging into your online banking applications, email, and social media while traveling abroad, even from your own devices, can be dangerous for your sensitive information. One way to protect yourself from cybercrime while traveling abroad is to utilize a Virtual Private Network service or VPN.

A VPN Connection establishes a secure connection between you and the internet creating a virtual encrypted tunnel your data is routed through.

Although Peoples Security Bank & Trust cannot endorse any one particular VPN solution, websites like www.security.org have recent articles reviewing many different types of VPNs for domestic and international travel that could help you to choose the best fit for your circumstances.

Here are some additional resources we have identified that may help to keep your private and sensitive information safe while traveling abroad:

Resources

The links below are provided for you to learn more about cybersecurity. We encourage you to take some time to look critically at your business and personal habits, evaluate any potential cybersecurity risks, and use these resources and others to implement best practices as we all move forward into this next phase of our digital future.

 

The information regarding cybersecurity on this page, including the links above, was provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities. 

Password Tips

How can you make your password more secure? Your online banking password is the key to your personal and financial information. If anyone knows your password, they can use it to steal from you or pose as you in online transactions. Here are some simple tips to make your online banking experience safer.

Do:

  • Install a reputable antivirus software program on all computers and keep them current.
  • Make your password as long and complex as possible.
  • Make it easy to remember, but hard to guess. Use a combination of letters and numbers you know, but would not make sense to others. Combine initials, important numbers and, if you are feeling particularly adventurous, a special character such as @ or # or $ or &. Use a mixture of upper and lower case letters. A good password could be: J18mo$64!DkZ. 
  • Use a different password. Use a different password for each website. Do not use your online banking password for other websites.
  • Use trustworthy computers. Shared public computers like those in airport lounges, Internet cafes, public libraries, and hotel lobbies could be connected to keystroke loggers or infected with password-stealing viruses. Do not use them to access online banking or other websites containing confidential information about you.

Do Not:

  • Never email your password or respond to an emailed request for your password or other confidential information. We will never ask you to submit confidential information in an email. Email travels the Internet in much the same way as a postcard travels through the U.S. Mail. There is no "envelope" to protect the contents from prying eyes. There is never a reason for anyone but you to know your password. Requests for your passwords via email are most assuredly scams.
  • Do not include your login name in your password. Similarly, any part of your login name is a poor choice for a password.
  • Avoid predictable sequences of characters, such as "1234" or "abcd," in your password. Automated password crackers often start by guessing predictable sequences such as these.
  • Avoid dictionary words or names. Words in any language can be determined by automated password crackers that also contain multi-lingual dictionaries.

Laptop and Mobile Device Security Tips

The feature we love most about our laptop and mobile devices is the mobility, but that is also what makes them easy targets for thieves. While replacing a stolen laptop or mobile device can be expensive, the value of the data it contains may well exceed the cost of the laptop or mobile device itself.

Here are a few tips to protect your laptop or mobile device and the information it contains:

    • Treat it like cash. Imagine a stack of money equal to what your laptop or mobile device is worth. Would you leave that amount of money on a coffee shop table while you refresh your latte? Probably not. Picturing your device as a stack of cash will help you to be more vigilant.
    • Keep it locked. No matter where you are using your laptop or mobile device, attach it to something immovable or to a heavy piece of furniture with a security cable.
    • Encrypt the data. You can protect your personal data even if your laptop or mobile device goes missing by encrypting the hard disk. There are a number of commercial products available that will prevent your device from even starting up without a password.
    • Keep your passwords elsewhere. Leaving your passwords in your laptop or mobile device carrying case is like leaving the keys in your car. Memorize your passwords or store them securely elsewhere - not in the carrying case or on the laptop or mobile device itself.
    • Leave your computer bag at home. When you take your laptop on the road, carrying it in a computer case may advertise what's inside. Consider using a suitcase, a padded briefcase or a backpack instead.
    • Do not leave it in the car. Not only is the extreme heat and cold in your car bad for your laptop or mobile device, but parked cars are a favorite target of thieves. If you must leave your device in your car, keep it out of sight by placing it in the trunk.
    • Pay close attention at airport security checkpoints. The chaos and confusion at airport security checkpoints make them perfect for thieves. Additionally, because so many laptop and mobile devices look the same, it is easy to pick up the wrong one on the other side of the screener. Mark your laptop or mobile device distinctly different so that you can easily track it as you go through security. Hold onto it until the person in front of you has gone through the metal detector - and keep an eye out when it emerges on the other side of the screener.
    • Be vigilant in hotels. Try not to leave your laptop or mobile device out in the open in your hotel room while you are out. Instead, take it with you or use the safe in your room if there is one.
    • Report it promptly. If your laptop or mobile device is stolen, report it immediately to the local authorities. If it is your business device that is missing, also immediately notify your employer.