Cybersecurity: 5 Ways to Keep Your Information Secure Online

Cybersecurity: 5 Ways to Keep Your Information Secure Online

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and at PSECU, we prioritize keeping your information as secure as possible. Regardless of where you stand financially, taking the right precautions to protect your information online will reduce your risk of becoming a victim. Here are some tips on keeping your information secure.

1. Create Strong Passwords

Having strong passwords can limit unauthorized access to your accounts. When creating your password, use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using information or words that are easily associated with you – like birthdates, pet names, or hobbies. If possible, use different passwords for each account.

Using a passphrase instead of a traditional password can be helpful in keeping your accounts secure. A passphrase is a series of random words or a sentence. While typically longer than passwords, they are often easy to type and harder for hackers to duplicate.

2. Don’t Store Information

It can be tempting to have websites or web browsers automatically store your passwords or credit card information. Storing passwords in one central area can make it easier for hackers to access all your information at once. When using your web browser, be sure to turn off the “save password” feature to avoid having your information stored automatically. It may be more time consuming to enter your password each time, but you’ll have the peace of mind of keeping your information secure.

The same applies for credit card information. When stored in your online accounts, a hacker can easily access your financial information if they can gain access to your accounts. Keep your credit card number secure by entering it manually each time – in addition, this practice will make it less tempting to easily “checkout” and may help you avoid impulse purchases.

3. Be Mindful on Social Media

If you’re active on social media, you may have seen “getting to know you” posts being shared. While the questions look innocent enough, they can often be the key to accessing your accounts by gaining more knowledge about you. Answers to questions about your high school mascot or first pet’s name, along with your email address, can be used to hack into your online accounts, giving hackers answers to your security questions or an easier guess at your passwords.

If you’re sharing personal information on social media, be sure to double check your privacy settings and only accept friend requests from people you know. By limiting access to your social media profiles, you’ll reduce your risk of allowing cyber criminals easy access to your personal information.

4. Utilize Account Alerts

Keep an eye on your accounts by utilizing account alerts. These aren’t just helpful for managing your money. By setting up alerts for your financial accounts, you can easily reference recent purchases, significant withdrawals, and other transactions that may be fraudulent.

We offer over 30 different account alert options, including transactional alerts for withdrawals or deposits, debit card usage updates, bill payer notifications, and overdraft notices. Account alerts can be received by text or email, giving you instant updates on your account activity.

5. Check for Secure Sites and Wi-Fi

Not all apps are created equal. When using your smartphone, be sure to download apps from legitimate sources and developers instead of third parties. When using websites, be sure to check for security – especially when shopping and banking online – by looking at the web address. If it begins with https://, the website has security protections set up. If not, you may be putting your information at risk.

Using public Wi-Fi offerings can be tempting if you’re trying to reduce your cell phone data consumption, but free connections aren’t always secure. Entering information like usernames, passwords, and PINs while connected to public Wi-Fi can make you more vulnerable to hacks. If you’re accessing your financial information using your smartphone, be sure to connect to Wi-Fi that’s password protected or stick to using your cell phone’s data plan.

Exercising appropriate caution while online can help keep your information secure. If you think that you’ve been a victim of a cybercrime or identity theft, be sure to take action immediately. For more tips and tools on managing your finances, visit our WalletWorks page.

The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. Some products not offered by PSECU. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs, or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal, or other professional if you have questions.