October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The purpose is to help raise awareness about cyber security and staying safe online. At Pentucket Bank helping you and your business safeguard confidential and sensitive data is important. Visit this page throughout the month of October for helpful cyber security tips.
Public Wi-Fi networks can now be found almost everywhere – in airports, coffee shops, libraries, restaurants, malls, and hotels – making it easy for anyone to connect to the Internet wherever they are. Although these Wi-Fi hotspots can be convenient, they are not always secure, potentially exposing you to online risks and presenting an opportunity for cybercriminals to steal sensitive information. It is important to understand these risks and take measures to protect yourself while connecting to Wi-Fi networks.
Think before you connect. Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot – like on an airplane or in an airport, hotel, or café – be sure to confirm the name of the network and login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. Cybercriminals can easily create a similarly named network hoping that users will overlook which network is the legitimate one. Additionally, most hotspots are not secure and do not encrypt the information you send over the Internet, leaving it vulnerable to cybercriminals.
Use your mobile network connection. Your own mobile network connection, also known as your wireless hotspot, is generally more secure than using a public wireless network. Use this feature if you have it included in your mobile plan. • Avoid conducting sensitive activities through public networks. Avoid online shopping, banking, and sensitive work that requires passwords or credit card information while using public Wi-Fi.
Keep software up to date. Install updates for apps and your device’s operating system as soon as they are available. Keeping the software on your mobile device up to date will prevent cybercriminals from being able to take advantage of known vulnerabilities.
Use strong passcodes. Use different passcodes for different accounts and devices. Do not choose options that allow your device to remember your passcodes. Although it’s convenient to store the passcode, that potentially allows cybercriminals into your accounts if your device is lost or stolen.
Disable auto-connect features and always log out. Turn off features on your computer or mobile devices that allow you to connect automatically to Wi-Fi. Once you’ve finished using a network or account, be sure to log out.
Ensure your websites are encrypted. When entering personal information over the Internet, make sure the website is encrypted. Encrypted websites use https://. Look for https:// on every page, not just the login or welcome page. Where an encrypted option is available, you can add an “s” to the “http” address prefix and force the website to display the encrypted version.
More and more of our home devices - including thermostats, door locks, coffee machines, and smoke alarms - are now connected to the Internet. This enables us to control our devices on our smartphones, no matter our location, which can in turn save us time and money while providing convenience and even safety. These advances in technology are innovative and intriguing; however, they also pose a new set of security risks. Follow these simple steps to secure your connected devices.
1. Secure your Wi-Fi network. Your home’s wireless router is the primary entrance for cybercriminals to access all of your connected devices. Secure your Wi-Fi network, and your digital devices, by changing the factory-set default password and username.
2. Enable stronger authentication. Always enable stronger authentication for an extra layer of security beyond the password that is available on most major email, social media and financial accounts. Stronger authentication (e.g., multi-factor authentication that can use a one-time code texted to a mobile device) helps verify that a user has authorized access to an online account. For more information about authentication, visit the new Lock Down Your Login Campaign at www.lockdownyourlogin.com
3. Keep a clean machine. Keep software up to date and install updates for apps and your device’s operating system as soon as they are available. Keeping the software on your mobile device up to date will prevent attackers from being able to take advantage of known vulnerabilities.
4. Know your apps. Be sure to review and understand the details of an app before downloading and installing it. Also, check to make sure the vendor or creator of the app is reputable. Be aware that apps may request access to your location and personal information. Delete any apps that you do not use regularly to increase your security.
5. Consider what you share. Limit the amount of personal information you share about yourself online. Your full name, phone number, address, school or work location, and other sensitive information should not be published widely. Disable geo-tagging features that let people online know where you are. Limit your online social networks to the people you know in real life, and set your privacy preferences to the strictest settings.
Mobile devices enable Americans to get online wherever they are. Although mobile devices - from smart watches to phones and tablets - can be extremely useful and convenient, there are also potential threats users may face with such technology. It’s important to understand how to protect yourself when connecting on the go.
1.Use strong passwords. Change any default passwords on your mobile device to ones that would be difficult for someone to guess. Use different passwords for different programs and devices. Do not choose options that allow your device to remember your passwords.
2.Keep software up to date. Install updates for apps and your device’s operating system as soon as they are available. Keeping the software on your mobile device up to date will prevent attackers from being able to take advantage of known vulnerabilities.
3.Disable remote connectivity. Some mobile devices are equipped with wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth, that can connect to other devices. Disable these features when they are not in use.
4.Be careful what you post and when. Wait to post pictures from trips and events so that people do not know where to find you. Posting where you are also reminds others that your house is empty.
5.Guard your mobile device. In order to prevent theft and unauthorized access, never leave your mobile device unattended in a public place and lock your device when it is not in use.
6.Know your apps. Be sure to review and understand the details of an app before downloading and installing it. Be aware that apps may request access to your location and personal information. Delete any apps that you do not use regularly to increase your security.
7.Know the available resources. Use the Federal Communications Commission’s Smartphone Security Checker at www.fcc.gov/smartphone-security.
Cyber bullying refers to the practice of using technology to harass, or bully, someone else. Computers, cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices are current tools that are being used to carry out cyber bullying through such forums as email, instant messaging, web pages, and digital photos. Forms of cyber bullying can range in severity from cruel or embarrassing rumors to threats, harassment, or stalking. It can affect any age group; however, teenagers and young adults are common victims, and cyber bullying is a growing problem in schools. Here some tips from protecting yourself and your children from cyber bullying:
Teach your children good online habits. Explain the risks of technology, and teach children how to be responsible online. Reduce their risk of becoming cyberbullies by setting guidelines for and monitoring their use of the internet and other electronic media (cell phones, tablets, etc.).
Keep lines of communication open. Regularly talk to your children about their online activities so that they feel comfortable telling you if they are being victimized.
Watch for warning signs. If you notice changes in your child's behavior, try to identify the cause as soon as possible. If cyber bullying is involved, acting early can limit the damage.
Limit availability of personal information. Limiting the number of people who have access to contact information or details about interests, habits, or employment reduces exposure to bullies that you or your child do not know. This may limit the risk of becoming a victim and may make it easier to identify the bully if you or your child are victimized.
Avoid escalating the situation. Responding with hostility is likely to provoke a bully and escalate the situation. Depending on the circumstances, consider ignoring the issue. Often, bullies thrive on the reaction of their victims. Other options include subtle actions. For example, you may be able to block the messages on social networking sites or stop unwanted emails by changing the email address. If you continue to get messages at the new email address, you may have a stronger case for legal action.
Document the activity. Keep a record of any online activity (emails, web pages, instant messages, etc.), including relevant dates and times. In addition to archiving an electronic version, consider printing a copy.
Report cyber bullying to the appropriate authorities. If you or your child are being harassed or threatened, report the activity. Many schools have instituted anti-bullying programs, so school officials may have established policies for dealing with activity that involves students. If necessary, contact your local law enforcement. Law enforcement agencies have different policies, but your local police department or FBI branch are good starting points.
Here are some additional resources: