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Cybersecurity Awareness Month Tips

Posted in Security

Did you know that October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month? At Bank First, safeguarding your personal and financial information is a responsibility we take very seriously. However, it is also important that you remain vigilant against potential fraud and cyber threats. We invite you to check out these tips from our very own IT pro and Information Technology Officer, Matt Longmeyer, to help you safeguard your personal and financial information.

Be sure to like and follow Bank First’s Facebook page for additional cybersecurity tips.

Email Safety

Beware of Phishing attempts. Phishing emails (and even text messages) look like they are from a company that you know and trust. The messages look legitimate and often contain these features:

  • Sense of Urgency - most cyber criminals want you to act NOW. The deal is ending soon, or includes an urgent warning.
  • Too Good to be True - if something seems very lucrative and too good to pass up, use caution. Remember, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Hyperlinks - a link may not be all that it appears to be. Hovering over a link shows you the actual URL where you will be directed once you click on it. It could be very different or it could be a popular website with a misspelling, for instance: www.bankf1rstwi.banck - the “i” is actually a 1 and bank is spelled incorrectly. Be sure to look carefully.
  • Attachments - if you see an attachment in an email you were not expecting or it does not make sense, do not open it. These attachments often contain a path to ransomware or other viruses.
  • Unusual sender - whether the email looks like it’s from someone you don’t know or even someone you do know, if anything seems out of the ordinary, unexpected, out of character, or suspicious in general - don’t click on it! If you are uncertain if the email is real, reach out the individual by phone.

So what can you do if your email does get hacked?

  1. Hackers won’t always change your account passwords once they have gained access. When you believe your email address has been compromised, the first thing you will want to do is change your password. To change your password, simply use the “Forgot Password” link at your login page. Do this for all your accounts across all your devices.
  2. Determine everywhere that you use the same username and password for all other sites and change those passwords right away. Hackers will try to go to major companies such as Netflix, Citibank, and Wells Fargo and try the same username and passwords. For example, when your Netflix account is hacked, it’s not because they want to watch movies - it’s because they want to get the username and password you used so they can try it on financial websites.
  3. Use DIFFERENT passwords for every product or service.
  4. Let your contacts know that you have been hacked after you have gained control of your email again. Sharing this information can help others avoid being compromised as well.

Bonus Tip ... Social Media Safety

The same principle you use to avoid suspicious phishing emails or the links and attachments found in them is the same principle that applies for social networks. Clicking on suspicious links or posts can ultimately lead to phishing pages or the download of malware. If the link directs you somewhere to win a prize - it’s usually malware or a phishing attempt. Use the “it’s too good to be true” thought process.

Be careful of personal information you share on Facebook and other social media platforms. Lockdown your privacy settings so only close friends can see the details of what you post.


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