Cybersecurity is a multifaceted topic that makes it worthy of revisiting. There’s the preventative measures, knowing the signs of identity theft or credit card fraud, and recovering from an attack if you become a victim of one.
How security savvy are you? You can take the FDIC’s quiz here to find out.
We have discussed online security measures you can take to protect yourself online, such as best practices when exchanging information and avoiding scams. You can read those posts here:
Other Preventative Measures:
Protecting your identity doesn’t stop there, however. Additional security measures include making sure your home network is private and password protected, and that your web browsers are secure as well. Each browser has different security requirements, meaning you may have to do some research and change settings if necessary. To learn more about differences in browser security, this is a helpful article: https://tiptopsecurity.com/what-is-the-most-secure-web-browser/
Securely disposing of electronic devices is also important. These devices probably held some personal information at one point, which you don’t want to pass on to the next owner. Doing a factory reset does the trick in most cases. There are a few things you may want to double check, however, such as disconnecting from the cloud if applicable. Apple iOS mobile device instructions can be found here, and Android phones here. Erasing data off a hard drive on a laptop or PC has different instructions, which can be found here. You’ll also want to check for memory cards, CDs, USBs, or any other bits of removable storage, or your printer tray if disposing of a printer. These areas are often overlooked, so don’t forget to double check! Note: Some non-profits that accept donated devices can provide this as a free service; make sure you ask before you give away electronics or wipe your device of personal data yourself.
Backing Up Data
If you aren’t regularly backing up data on your cell phone or other devices, now is the time to start. Should you become the victim of a cyberattack or lose the data on your Whether you use an external backup such as a USB or external hard drive, or something like the cloud, is completely up to you.
The US Computer Emergency Readiness Team recommends implementing the 3-2-1 rule in creating backups (mainly pertaining to businesses but can also be useful for individuals). It involves creating three backups (one original and two copies), of two different media types, with one copy stored offsite.
https://www.us-cert.gov/sites/default/files/publications/data_backup_options.pdf 3-2-1 rule (3 backups- 1 original and 2 copies, 2 different media types, 1 copy stored offsite). More information about the 3-2-1 rule is in this article: https://www.us-cert.gov/sites/default/files/publications/data_backup_options.pdf
Reporting Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud
Even if you follow all the recommended best practices to protect your identity, you may still end up a victim of credit card fraud. Checking your balances frequently (even once a week rather than waiting for a monthly statement) can mean catching suspicious activity early on and preventing extensive damage. Most credit card thieves will test the waters and make small, unassuming purchases before making a large scale purchase.
If you become a victim of credit card fraud, you want to contact your credit card company and freeze your account. Next, you should file a fraud report with one of the three credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. This ensures that your credit reports for the next 90 days will show that there was fraudulent activity, letting creditors know that your credit report may include activity that wasn’t you.
In cases of identity theft, you should contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at FTCComplaintAssistant.gov or call 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338). Serious cases may also require contacting the Social Security Fraud Hotline or obtaining a new license number (more information on these steps here: http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/07/31/9-things-to-do-immediately-after-your-identity-is-stolen.
Filing a report with your local police department is an important step in both credit card fraud and identity theft. While they may not be able to take action, it will help create a record showing that you were proactive in reporting the theft. It can also make the police aware of threats in the local area and protect others.
Recovering from a Cyber Attack or Computer Virus
In addition to reporting, you may have to take care of some computer related issues to ensure future protection. A good first step is changing all passwords, even on accounts that were not compromised. Make sure you choose a strong password (more than 6 characters and with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols).
It goes without saying you should have some kind of antivirus software and, if you feel like you aren’t vigilant in this area, a plan to get your computers/devices regularly checked by a professional.
If you even suspect a virus (and you aren’t skilled in addressing it) contact a technician and make sure you disconnect from the internet as soon as possible. The next step is where having a backup will come in handy. After performing a virus scan, you may need to reinstall your operating system. This gives you a ‘clean slate,’ removing any corrupted material, but it also removes all programs and files. If you have backups, it will be easy to restore them. Once your OS and other programs are re-installed, run another virus scan to double check for anything malicious. Be sure to follow these best practices to avoid viruses and malicious activity on your devices in the future: https://www.us-cert.gov/sites/default/files/publications/trojan-recovery.pdf
As you can see, being observant and willing to immediately lock out threats by changing passwords, etc. is key to keeping security issues will contained. Taking computer classes, getting the help of professionals for maintenance, and only giving out information on a need to know basis (after verifying someone’s identity) are great ways you can be more cyber secure. If you have any questions about your online banking security, contact us at Oak Bank – we are happy to help!