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Protecting Your Identity

Online Safety

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The war against cyber criminals is fought daily as attacks become more difficult to detect and stop. While there’s no way to predict the damage that can be caused by a single cyber attack, you can arm yourself with these 10 cyber security tips to safeguard against potential online threats.

 

1. Lock it up.

Internet safety starts with good password management.

  • Keep it going: Never settle for the minimum when it comes to password length and special characters used.
  • One time only: Don’t utilize the same password for multiple accounts across different online sites.
  • Unsharpen the pencil: Never write passwords down, instead store them in an encrypted password manager.

 

2. Update your software. 

One of your greatest defenses against online security threats is to make sure your computer and mobile devices have security software. But don’t stop there. Make sure your programs are up to date and running the latest version. Turning on “Automatic Updates” is a great way to ensure this happens without you lifting a finger.


3. Avoid public Wi-Fi.

Privacy is the strongest form of online security, and public wireless networks are a threat to your cyber safety. Protect your account from hackers by only connecting to your bank on a secure Wi-Fi network that you know and trust. Securing your connection with a virtual private network, or VPN, can help protect your online identity and activity when using public Wi-Fi networks.

 
4. Monitor your accounts regularly.

Stay on top of all of your accounts. It should go without saying, but it’s important to monitor your bank statements on a regular basis. You’ll be able to spot any unauthorized or unfamiliar transactions and alert your bank as soon as you see them. Being vigilant about monitoring activity for your various accounts will play a significant role in improving your internet safety.

 
5. Think twice before clicking.

Always be wary when clicking on attachments or links in emails. Never open anything from someone you don’t know. Although sometimes well-disguised, online scams and phishing attempts can steal your personal information for future fraudulent activities.

 
6. Be conscientious of your mobile device.

Mobile devices are very susceptible to cyber attacks. According to a 2018 internet security report by Symantec, malicious software variants for mobile increased 54%.1 Considering how much we rely on these devices, it’s important to be aware of your mobile cyber security. Utilize a difficult mobile password or lock code in order to keep hackers out in case you misplace or lose your phone. Be careful of which applications you download and store on your phone as nearly 24,000 malicious mobile applications are blocked each day.1 Only install mobile apps that you can find in an official app store.

 

7. Back it up.

Back up your data on a consistent basis and store it in a separate, secure location such as an external hard drive or on a cloud storage service. If you are ever a victim of a security incident or cyber attack, you won't lose the photos and apps that are important to you. Keeping your personal data off your computer and in a safe place is a great way to stay safe online.

 
8. Physically secure your devices.

Technically securing your device is a positive internet safety practice, but physically securing them is just as important. Never leave a device unattended for any period of time. If for whatever reason you do need to leave your device, lock it up. Be aware of what you plug into your computer. Cyber attacks can be conducted with the use of flash drives, external hard drives, and even mobile devices.

 
9. Bank legitimately.

If you are choosing a bank online, make sure it’s legit. We all want a bank with low fees and high interest rates, but choosing a bank with high security standards is just as critical. Do some research and investigate your bank’s site and confirm they are insured with the FDIC FDIC.

 
10. You are a target, but don’t be an easy one.

It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, or how much money you make—everyone's at risk of being the target of a cyber attack. In fact, identity fraud affects 17 million people on an annual basis.2 You have data and information that is valuable to cyber criminals, so don’t get complacent under the mindset of “this can’t happen to me.” Being proactive about cyber safety is the best way to protect yourself from potential harm.

 

We’re here to help.

At Flagstar, we understand how important your online security is. Our team is here to help if you ever have any questions on internet safety or cyber security.

Still have questions?

Give us a call.

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1https://www.symantec.com/content/dam/symantec/docs/reports/istr-23-executive-summary-en.pdf

 

2https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-identity-theft-and-cybercrime