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Digital Security Best Practices

Our Digital Security Best Practices

Do you shop online, work remotely, or keep up with friends and family over social media? If so, you are in good company with many Americans who are spending much of their personal and professional lives online. At the same time, technology grows more complex and cybersecurity threats increase in sophistication. Luckily, you can take some basic steps to protect yourself from digital security threats, particularly if you use your mobile device or computer for sensitive transactions such as banking or shopping. In this article we'll explain how to use our Mobile and Internet banking platforms, and show you how to keep mobile devices and computers safe from malware and information theft.

Guide To Using Vision Bank's Mobile App

Vision Bank is pleased to offer a Mobile Banking app for iOS and Android devices. This free, secure, and convenient service allows our customers to check account balances, review recent transactions, find an ATM or branch office, and perform basic tasks such as check deposits, money transfers or bill pay. We know that you live your life on the go, so you should be able to take your bank with you.

Download the Vision Bank mobile app for iOS or Android.

Mobile App Security Tips
Make sure you install our banking app from a trusted and authorized source like the Apple App Store or Google Play. Beware of other websites that prompt you to download the app. Cyber criminals may also try to fool you with a fraudulent banking app from one of the above-mentioned authorized sources. Scrutinize the app for tell-tale signs of forgery including typos, poor image quality, formatting issues, low download numbers, and/or negative or nonexistent user reviews.

You can also protect your device by requiring a passcode for app downloads and blocking downloads from unknown sources. When it doubt, visit your nearest Vision Bank location for assistance with mobile app installation.

When it comes to passwords, take the same care with choosing a strong password for your banking app that you would apply to your online banking account. Create a different password each time instead of replicating them. Always take the final step of signing out of your mobile banking app before moving on to something else on your device.

How To Protect Mobile Devices From Cybersecurity Threats

When it comes to protecting sensitive information on your mobile device(s), establishing a lock screen is your first line of defense. Set a passcode consisting of random numbers and/or letters. Avoid using your birth date, child's name, or other personal details as part of your password. Taking an extra moment to unlock your phone may seem like a hassle, but it will protect you if your device is lost or stolen. If a fingerprint login is available, you may find it more convenient. Don't share your passcode with anyone and change it regularly, just as you would with online passwords.

Take advantage of all the security features your device offers
Whether you use a touch login or passcode, don't stop there. Utilize all the security options your device offers including an automatic screen lock after a certain amount of idle time has passed. Most phones also let you select consequences for excessive password failures, such as data auto-wipe or a prolonged period of lockdown. Now, if you have small children who may get hold of your phone and rack up password failures "just for fun," you may not want to go with an auto-wipe option. Consider your personal situation to choose the security features that will best protect you and your device.

Yes, you really do need to update your software

We all get software update reminders on our devices and too often we ignore them, regarding them as annoyances to be dealt with at a later date. However, the older your device's operating system, the more vulnerable you are to malware and bugs. In fact, many software updates are created specifically to address previously identified security issues. So the next time your phone or tablet tells you to download the latest software, don't delay, even if you have to go through the inconvenience of freeing up storage space. Think of it this way-- taking your car to the shop for an oil change is inconvenient, but you wouldn't skip it because eventually the engine would die. Your phone needs the same attention to maintenance.

Keep cyber criminals out of your device

Many people think only of laptop or desktop computers when they hear about spyware, malware, and other "viruses." However, cyber criminals also target mobile devices with malicious links and other invasive strategies. Here are four ways to keep your phone or tablet safe and secure as you use them on the go:

  • Be conscientious about disabling any features you're not using at the moment. This includes Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and any infrared sensors. When Bluetooth is enabled, such as for a hotspot, make your device "non-discoverable."
  • If there is an option to utilize antivirus software on your device, such as for Android or Windows, take full advantage of it.
  • Don't try to disable security controls on your device through "rooting," "jailbreaking," or other methods. Compromised security makes it easier for hackers to install malware on your device.
  • Always lock your phone or tablet before you put it away; don't wait for the auto-lock to kick in.
  • If you end up selling or giving away your device, do a "hard factory reset" first to make sure all your information and content is deleted.

Three Common Threats To Your Mobile Device

Now that you have a general understanding of how to protect your phone or other mobile device from cyber criminals, here are the three most common ways people will try to steal personal information from your device. Learn them so you can recognize and avoid them.

This is a strategy in which the cyber criminal pretends to be a reputable individual or company that you already know, such as your bank or a company you've shopped with. The message may ask you to reset your password for an online account or provide sensitive data like your social security number. Think beyond email: phishing scams also appear in other communication apps like text messages and social media.
Unsecured Wireless Networks

Cellular data can be expensive if your plan is not unlimited, so most people try to use wifi whenever it's available. However, if you connect your device to a public wifi source like the library or coffee shop, you should avoid online shopping, logging into a banking app, and any other tasks that could inadvertently share sensitive information with hackers.
Malicious Websites

Using your mobile device to browse the web is very common, especially when you need a quick answer or piece of information. Steer clear of any websites that seem compromised. Clues include security errors or other warnings from your Internet browser. You may also try to visit one site and find yourself immediately redirected to another, a suspicious event you should avoid by closing the site and your browser right away. Overall, don't click if you have any doubts about the security or authenticity of a website.

Guide To Online Banking With Vision Bank

In addition to on-the- go banking with our mobile app, Vision Bank offers Internet Banking so you can conveniently access your account from your computer. Sometimes you just want to view things with a larger screen, or you may need to download and print account statements. With Vision Bank's Internet Banking and Online Bill Pay you can manage and review transactions, sign up for eStatements, check your balance, and other everyday banking tasks.

General Guidelines For Safe Internet Browsing

Similar to some of the tips for protecting mobile devices, safe Internet browsing consists of being aware, alert, and proactive.

Be Aware
  • To verify that a web site uses encryption before you share sensitive information such as a credit card number, look for 'https://' in the beginning of the URL. The 's' stands for secure. You may also see a closed padlock icon to indicate encryption and security.
  • Don't visit websites that your browser flags with certificate warnings or errors. This could mean an intercepted connection or fraudulent web server.
  • Limit sensitive activities, such as online shopping or banking, to your personal computer.
  • If you suspect a link may not be what it seems (they can take you to a different web address than what is displayed), hover your mouse over the link until the full, true URL appears. This is especially helpful for shortened links commonly shared on social media.
  • The importance of passwords cannot be understated. Create an original password for each of your accounts and logins. Make your password long, random, and not related to personal information a stranger could easily guess.
Be Alert
  • Trust your instincts about unsolicited phone calls, emails, and text messages. If someone is trying to get you to click on a link or provide personal information, it's probably suspicious.
  • If you see any signs of malware on your computer or simply find that it's acting funny, stop using it and visit your nearest computer repair center.
  • Regular review of financial accounts can also alert you to identity theft as early as possible.
  • Don't forget to click on the option to sign out or log off from a password-protected website. If you just close the window, the session may not actually end.
Be Proactive
  • Change your passwords regularly-- once a season is a good rule of thumb. You may be prompted to do this anyway at work, and you can change personal passwords at the same time. Besides passwords for accounts, create a password-protected login for your computer.
  • If two-step verification is an option for some of your online accounts, use it. This means that after entering your password you will need to verify your identity in a second way, such as typing a code sent to you via text message. While it may seem like a hassle, it will protect your accounts if a cyber criminal gets hold of your password.
  • Maintain updated anti-virus software on your computer. You may also want to install firewalls on your local network for extra protection.
  • Keep up with your computer's recommended software updates. This includes the operating system but also software such as Internet browsers, Microsoft Office, Adobe programs, etc. If possible, set up automatic updates so you don't even have to think about it.

Vision Bank Is Here To Answer Your Digital Security Questions

Ready to enjoy the convenience of banking on the go? Visit our Mobile and Internet Banking page to get started. If you have a question about something in this article or need help with our mobile app or Internet banking program, contact us for assistance. As your community bank, we are always happy to help.