October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The purpose is to help people stay safer and more secure 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.
Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, libraries, airports, hotels, universities, and other public places are convenient, but often they’re not secure. If you connect to a Wi-Fi network, and send information through websites or mobile apps, it might be accessed by someone else. To protect your information when using wireless hotspots, send information only to sites that are fully encrypted, and avoid using mobile apps while connected to public Wi-Fi that require personal or financial information.
To determine if a website is encrypted, look for https at the start of the web address (the “s” is for secure). Some websites use encryption only on the sign-in page, but if any part of your session isn’t encrypted, your entire account could be vulnerable. Look for https on every page you visit, not just when you sign in.
Mobile apps don’t have a visible indicator like https. Researchers have found that many mobile apps don’t encrypt information properly, so it’s a bad idea to use certain types of mobile apps on unsecured Wi-Fi. If you plan to use a mobile app to conduct sensitive transactions — like filing your taxes, shopping with a credit card, or accessing your bank account - use a secure wireless network or your phone’s data network (often referred to as 3G or 4G). If you must use an unsecured wireless network for transactions, rather than the retailers mobile app, instead use the retailer’s regular website — where you can check for the https at the start of the web address.
Here are some tips for staying safe online:
- Don’t stay permanently signed in to accounts. When you’ve finished using an account, log out.
- Do not use the same password on different websites. It could give someone who gains access to one of your accounts access to many of your accounts.
- Many web browsers alert users who try to visit fraudulent websites or download malicious programs. Pay attention to these warnings, and keep your browser and security software up-to-date.
- Consider changing the settings on your mobile device so it doesn’t automatically connect to nearby Wi-Fi. That way, you have more control over when and how your device uses public Wi-Fi.
If you need tech help with your computer, where do you go? Most of us probably search online. But your online search can lead you straight to scammers who scare you into thinking your computer is in dire need of repair...and then sell you costly security software that you don't need.
- If you’re looking for tech support, go to a company you know and trust, or get help from a knowledgeable friend or family member. If you search online for help, search on the company name plus “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.”
- If you get a phone call you didn’t expect from someone who says there’s a problem with your computer, hang up.
- Never call a number in a pop-up that warns you of computer problems. Real security warnings will never ask you to call a phone number.
- If you think there’s a problem with your computer, update its security software and run a scan.