Washington, D.C. (Oct. 1, 2019)—In recognition of National Cybersecurity Month in October, The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) reminds consumers of our shared responsibility to practice strong cybersecurity habits while on the go, in the workplace and at home to avoid becoming victimized by a cyberattack.
“To fight the rising number of cybersecurity incidents, estimated to reach $6 trillion in damages by 2021, we must diligently defend against these bad actors,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. “Community banks proactively shore up their systems and are helping Americans arm themselves with practical tips to help strengthen security safeguards and protect their sensitive information.”
Consumers can reduce their chances of being victimized. ICBA encourages consumers to:
- Stay vigilant. Lookout for imposter sites and unsolicited emails. Warning signs include spelling or grammatical errors, missing contact information, and suspicious URLs or email addresses.
- Enable the strongest authentication tools offered by their bank. Popular authentication methods include biometrics, security keys and single-use codes through apps or mobile devices.
- Use complex passwords and differentiate them across multiple platforms. Passwords should be complex and include a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.
- Do a system check. Purge unused apps and outdated or sensitive information stored in old files and emails and ensure all software on internet-connected devices is current.
- Manage social media settings and minimize information sharing. Just a few data points can create a pathway for exploitation by cybercriminals.
- Use WiFi judiciously: Limit the type of business conducted over open public WiFi connections, including logging in to key accounts like banking.
Consumers can also make sure their account has not been compromised by taking the following steps:
- Read the fine print for online purchases. Often a website or application will ask for permission to save account information. Never save credit and debit card information on the merchant’s website or app.
- Strengthen personal networks. Update your systems with the latest security software, web browser and operating systems available.
- Invest in a software security suite that offers real-time protection against existing and emerging malware, including ransomware and viruses to help protect your private and financial data.
- Monitor account activity regularly for transaction irregularities and immediately report any discrepancies to your financial institution.
- Look for special indicators such as web addresses with https:// that denote extra measures taken to help secure your information. URLS that end in .BANK are also assigned for exclusive use by financial institutions.
Learn more about how to protect your digital life during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month by visiting the Stay Safe Online website.
The Independent Community Bankers of America® creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. With more than 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute 99 percent of all banks, employ nearly 750,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding more than $5 trillion in assets, nearly $4 trillion in deposits, and more than $3.4 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community, community banks channel local deposits into the Main Streets and neighborhoods they serve, spurring job creation, fostering innovation and fueling their customers’ dreams in communities throughout America. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org.
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