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Cybersecurity Checkup | Are You Protecting Your Digital Self?

Oct 23, 2019 | First Farmers Bank & Trust

Strong passwords

This is cybersecurity 101 and also the best front-line protection available to you online. Here are few dos and don'ts to make your passwords more effective:

  • DO NOT have easily guessable passwords or phrases.
  • DO have passwords that are long and strong with a blend of upper case, lower case, and special characters. 
  • DO NOT use the same password for every account you have.
  • DO NOT share passwords.

Be wary of public WiFi

Public WiFi should be approached with caution. People can spoof these networks and steal your information. This is especially true when checking account balances or doing anything involving sensitive information. When dealing with sensitive information you should use a trusted home network or cellular data.

Keep your software up to date

Software updates are important because they often include critical patches to security holes, which can create vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit. They can also improve the stability of your software and remove outdated features. These updates are aimed at making the user experience better and safer.

Wire transfers (ACH tokens)

ACH tokens use a process known as tokenizationwhich is the process of replacing sensitive data with non-sensitive data. In the banking industry, it is used to safeguard a card’s PAN (Primary Account Number) by replacing it with a unique string of numbers. 

Tokenization may be used to safeguard sensitive data involving, for example, bank accounts, financial statements, driver's licenses, loan applications, stock trades, and several other types of personally identifiable information.

Multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication is an authentication method in which a user is granted access only after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence. For example, at FFBT, users can add up to 3 security questions to their accounts to add an extra layer of security. Customers that use our mobile banking app have the option to enable fingerprint "touch" ID when logging into the mobile banking app. This is another form of MFA available to customers at FFBT.

Easy way to remember multi-factor authentication: Password => Verification => Access

  • Security question tips
    • Pick a random question and write it down, or remember it. Provide a random value as your answer to the question. For example: What street did you grow up on? (Uie82$%ii94jnfh!) You could also do something like putting your favorite fruit as the answer for a different question such as "where were you born". This practice is more secure than simply answering the questions, especially if the question is one that someone could easily guess or look up on your Facebook profile.

Password management applications

Password management applications are used to generate and store strong, randomized passwords without you needing to remember all of the different passwords. They allow you to quickly and securely sign in to all your accounts and you only have to remember one password as opposed to several. 

Carrie Marshall and Cat Ellis from Tech Radar, a widely-known online tech news site described the usefulness of password management apps perfectly: "If you reuse the same login credentials for multiple sites and services, just one security breach or successful phishing attack could leave them all vulnerable, and simple passwords that are easy to remember are often equally easy to crack. A password manager solves both these problems, generating complex, unguessable passwords for your accounts, storing them all in an encrypted vault, and filling out login forms for you automatically." 

Email security

  • Watch out for email scams like phishing attacks
    • It’s not always easy to tell a legitimate message from a scam, but if you’re being asked for money, login credentials or other personal or sensitive data, you should verify the message before responding. For example, if you receive an email purporting to be from your bank, the DHS recommends calling your bank for confirmation on a phone number you’ve Googled or already knew by heart; don’t click any links within the suspicious email and don't call the numbers within the suspicious email. First Farmers Bank & Trust will NEVER email you asking for money, login credentials, or other sensitive information.

Thanks for reading!