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Lasting effects of COVID-19 on cybersecurity

By Greg Arbuckle, First Nation Bank & Trust Co. Vice President & Compliance

The COVID-19 pandemic caused us all to pivot economically and socially, but it’s important to look at financials through a coronavirus filter as well. Unfortunately, scammers often use crises to take advantage of people who aren’t properly protecting their personal and financial information.
First National Bank & Trust Co. is here to help guard against cybersecurity threats. As FNB’s vice president and compliance officer, I have a few tips to share to help keep your data out of the wrong hands.

Recognizing fraudulent websites

There are several thousand fraudulent COVID-19 websites related to medical information, charities and even economic relief measures. Fraudsters are getting more sophisticated, and oftentimes, a fake website will almost exactly mirror a legitimate website.

First, look out for grammatical and syntactical errors. A majority of phishing scams are generated in other countries, so the wording may seem off. Second, if you receive a link in an email or anywhere else, always hover your mouse over the link to view the URL. If it’s not something you’re familiar with, don’t click on it.

Creating a secure password

A secure password is the first line of defense against security threats. In fact, I recommend people use a “pass phrase” rather than a password to make it even more difficult to crack. Use at least 12 characters, and mix those up between letters, numbers and special characters. Try substituting “@” for “a,” and use the numeral 3 instead of the letter “e.” Changing your password every 30 to 60 days is the best way to protect your financial information. Bonus points if you change it up more frequently!

Limiting what you share

The less information you post on a public forum — including social media — the better off you’ll be. You shouldn’t share your social security number, of course, but also refrain from sharing your address, phone number and birthday. Even seemingly innocent pieces of information such as your anniversary or pet’s name could be compromising if you use it in passwords or security questions. At FNB, we try to go beyond basic security questions like “What’s your mother’s maiden name?” for additional safety.

Safeguarding against fraudulent activity

Check your bank account daily for unauthorized transactions, and review credit card statements at least once a month. You never know how quickly someone can compromise your information and start opening up lines of credit and bank accounts in your name. If you spot an unauthorized debit card charge on your account, you should contact the bank within 48 hours to dispute the charge. Staying informed is incredibly important, so be sure to get in touch with your bank regarding additional, necessary steps to limit your liability.

With FNB, you can be completely confident we’re following security measures to protect your accounts, online banking and privacy. We employ the highest standards and cutting-edge technology, such as layers of the strongest encryption available, to ensure FNB establishes and maintains a secure banking environment.

Most of all, we want you to remember the safest place for your money is in the bank. If you have questions about cybersecurity and data protection, please reach out to us by calling 888-640-8934 or visiting fnbokla.bank.