Be Safe Online
Be vigilant, for a better online experience.
- Find out what makes a password more secure
- Know how to protect your laptop, phone and tablet
- Set up special security alerts to monitor account activity
Let's work together in the battle against fraud.
Our personal and professional lives revolve around technology and instant connection. We all love the convenience, but it's important to take precautions.
Many people don't take password security seriously enough. Easy-to-guess combinations like "password1," "123456", and "qwerty" routinely top the lists of the most frequently-used passwords. Hackers can now easily crack just about any six-character password. The more sophisticated you make your password, the harder it is to guess. Keep these guidelines in mind for creating secure passwords:
- Make your password long and unique. The longer your password, the better, but it should be no shorter than eight characters. For maximum security, your password should contain upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters. You could also use a long string of four or five random words. Just be sure the words are truly random. If you've thought of "four score and seven years ago," so have professional thieves.
- Stay away from common words and personal information. Your birthday, your pet's name and the name of your school are all types of passwords that can be easily deduced from your social media posts or other online information.
- Don't re-use passwords. With all of the sites that require logins, it's challenging to create multiple unique passwords. At the very least, keep unique passwords on your email accounts and online banking sites. That way, if someone hacks your password to one site, that person can't access your email to intercept any email alerts and won't be able to access your Financial Partners accounts.
- Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) where possible. MFA requires not only your password, but also something you possess, typically your mobile device. If a login is attempted from an unrecognized device, a confirmation code will be sent to your phone. That keeps hackers from logging in with just a password. We use MFA by default. Many major email services and websites have MFA available, but you often need to enable it.
- Change your passwords regularly. Again, this can be a challenge with a large number of passwords, but the more often they are changed, the less likely they're hacked.
- Consider a password manager. Password managers are apps that create lengthy, random, highly secure passwords and automatically enter them into sites you visit, so you don't have to remember them. Using a password manager takes care of many of the concerns mentioned above. There are many password managers available; an online search will quickly deliver reviews and information. Password managers don't work with every site, so choose the option that's right for you. If you use a password manager, access to it is protected by, naturally, a password, so be sure to make it the strongest password you can.
Protect Your Devices
- Use a firewall. Most modern operating systems have a built-in software firewall, which protects your computer from unauthorized online intrusions. Most routers and cable modems also have a hardware firewall for an extra layer of protection. Make sure your firewalls are enabled (check with Microsoft, Apple, or your hardware provider for instructions), and be cautious about installing any programs that turn off or modify your firewall.
- Keep your anti-virus software updated. While anti-virus software can't protect against every threat, keeping the software updated will minimize your chances of picking up a virus.
- Lock your computer and devices. Create a password or passcode for your computers and mobile devices. While that may cause some minor inconvenience, if your computer or device is lost or stolen, a stranger won't be able to access your personal data, photos, contacts, etc.
- Be careful with public Wi-Fi. Anyone on a public Wi-Fi network can potentially see your online activity if you don't take precautions. First, avoid entering any passwords or personal information while on a public network. If you do, be sure the site address starts with "https" and your browser displays a lock, which ensures the connection is secure connection and data is encrypted. Second, change your device settings to keep it from automatically connecting to hotspots. This puts you in control of deciding whether you want to connect. Third, more advanced users may consider using Virtual Private Network (VPN) software or an app, which encrypts all your online activity.
Financial Partners offers a variety of alerts through Digital Banking that notify you when account activity occurs. Set notification types and thresholds (for instance, be notified when there is a debit card purchase over $500), and receive emails or text alerts. Alerts are a great way to know quickly if any unauthorized activity has occurred.