Be Proactive in Preventing Cyberattacks

Unless you live completely ‘off the grid’ and shun both electricity and technology, there is a high probability that you have or will face a cyberattack.

Each week brings news of another breach, leak or cyber scam. This past summer, consumers could have had their information stolen through a major credit card company, popular delivery app, online dating site or playing a game over their phone.

Stay Alert

October is National CyberSecurity Awareness Month and its theme is: Own It. Secure It. Protect It.

“This year’s theme emphasizes personal accountability and taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity at home and at work,’’ said Mitch Peters, Senior Assistant Vice President for Information Technology.

“Redstone Federal Credit Union utilizes a combination of tools to detect suspicious account activities. While we have multiple tools in place to help with detection, it is also important for members to monitor their own accounts and to do all they can to protect themselves,’’ Peters said. “We must all work together!’’

Leaked user data from outside sources is more than enough information for criminals who want to target consumers by phone, email, online; or who use the data to open up fraudulent accounts or drain an individual’s account.

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, it pays to stay vigilant about consumer fraud.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, Alabama ranks 8th among states for fraud and identity theft crimes. That translates to $7 million in total fraud losses each year for residents.

Cybercrime often spikes during the holidays when criminals look for even more ways to separate consumers from their money, said Jonathan Kirby, Senior Assistant Vice President for Security and Investigations.

Some areas are seeing an increase in criminals taking checks from mailboxes, copying individuals’ account information, and creating fraudulent checks within hours.

“Be careful when leaving a check in your mailbox for pickup by the postman. When criminals see the flag up on the box, they know you have outgoing mail. Thieves steal the checks and using your account information to create false ones,’’ Kirby said. “We suggest you drop your checks off to the post office or use our online banking and checking payment services,’’ he said.

Here are more ways to protect yourself from cyberattacks.

  • Update Everything. Update all devices that connect to the internet. Your phone, Wi-Fi router, printer, and even some appliances may pose a threat if not updated to fix bugs and increase information security.
  • Freeze Your Credit. If your personal information is floating out in the dark web, you can still avoid being a victim. When you freeze your credit, it prevents anyone else from using it to take out a loan, open a credit card, or much more.
  • Don’t Click There. Always be careful when clicking on attachments or links in email. If it’s unexpected or suspicious for any reason, don’t click on it. Hover over the URL of the website the link takes you to. Watch for emails with bad spelling and grammar that ask you for personal or financial information.

Phishing is one of the most basic and most effective way of stealing your personal information. Email is the #1 delivery vehicle for these types of attacks as 92% of data breaches originate with a simple phishing email.

  • Lock It Up. Never leave your devices unattended. If you need to leave your computer, phone, or tablet for any length of time—no matter how short—lock it up so no one can use it while you’re gone. Also use strong passwords and never share them or write them down and leave them next to your computer.
  • Monitor Your Accounts. Be sure to monitor your accounts using the tools available in Redstone’s online banking. Sign up for text alerts, card control and view your account at any time through Redstone’s mobile app.