Every year, cybercrime grows more sophisticated and maintaining your online security becomes more challenging and time-consuming. The bad news is that it’s likely not going to change anytime soon. The good news is that the means to strengthen your online security are evolving and becoming more effective.
Make no mistake – there is no full-proof way to avoid becoming a victim of a hack, breach, or malware attack. In 2021, half of Americans internet users had an account breach, and 39% of UK businesses suffered a cyberattack in 2022. That same year, the average victim of online investment fraud lost $70,811, making it the most lucrative form of cybercrime perpetrated against individuals. The toll is much higher for businesses: the average data breach in 2022 cost $4.35 million, up from $4.24 million the year before. Let’s be clear – not one of these numbers were expected to decline in 2023.
The U.S. is the most targeted country for cyberattacks. U.S. citizens lost $6.9 billion to cyber-related crimes in 2021, affecting more than 53 million people. The best you can do is minimize your risk and make it easier for cybercriminals to attack someone else. How can you improve online security at home and work? Below are six ways that can make a difference.
- Don’t get phished.
Check the sender’s email address carefully. Never click on links from unsolicited emails, especially emails that ask for sensitive information or your log-in credentials. Be aware of “browser within browser” frauds. Remember, your financial institution will never email or call you and ask for your log-in ID or password. Check for misspellings, grammar errors, and messages implying a sense of urgency. Most cyberattacks on businesses start with a successful phishing attempt.
- Say “YES” to 2FA & MFA (multifactor authentication).
The extra step takes only a small amount of time compared to the time and effort it takes to respond to a hack. Two-factor authentication (2FA) and multifactor authentication (MFA) require the additional step of acknowledging you are using your account by responding to a text message, call, or email.
- Say “NO” to unsecure connections.
Don’t use public or guest wi-fi access to conduct financial or other personal transactions online. This includes entering your log-in and passwords on social media, subscription, or other sites that store your personal information. Bad actors can be on these networks and steal your information and identity.
- Be Alert!
Sign up to receive alerts on your phone for all your financial accounts. There are two good reasons to do this: first, you will know your transaction was completed; second, you will know if someone is trying to complete an unauthorized transaction on your account.
- Be vigilant.
About your passwords. Don’t store them in your contacts. Don’t use the same one over and over. Don’t use one that includes something related to your personal life, like your address, phone number, the name of your pet, etc. Spend a few dollars on a password manager and use it. It’s easier and takes less time to use to a password manager than it is to recover your identity, and it will be cheaper than the time lost trying to retrieve funds stolen from your bank account.
- Keep Up.
Stay up to date. Keep up with updates for your systems and equipment, including phones and tablets at home and at work, especially anti-virus, and security updates. Turn on automatic updates to ensure you don’t miss any critical updates. Still using that router you bought in 2014? It might be time for a new one. Either way, make sure the router in your home is secure. Always change the password on your new router to a custom password and keep it safe.
At Lafayette Federal Credit Union, we know that the rise of cybercrime puts more and more people at risk of financial fraud every day. We care about our members’ financial safety, and our team members are trained to help you spot potential scams or abuse and can offer tips on how to improve your cyber security. We offer tools and resources aimed at making our members secure, with such products as our convenient online and mobile banking platforms. Learn more about our mobile app, and reach out to us with any questions. We’re here to help, and we want to be your credit union for life.