Personal Computer Security
We work hard to protect your personal data every day, but there are some things you can do at home to ensure your information stays with you.
Security at Home & Away
Even though we employ efforts to protect your personal data through online services, our efforts only account for half of the secure connection from our servers to your computer, tablet, or phone. To ensure a safe and secure connection, your devices must be secured. You, as the member, are responsible for that other half.
Don't believe everything you receive! Be extremely cautious of any email that makes threats, warns of dire consequences, sounds too good to be true, or requests personal or financial information. We will never request any personal or financial information in email. No reputable financial institution in existence will make that kind of request online. We will make a personal call or send a letter if there are any issues with your account.
Report suspicious emails or calls to the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1.877.IDTHEFT.
Phishing & Pharming
Phishing is a form of online identity theft where a scammer sends an email to an unsuspecting consumer asking them to verify personal or financial information. The questionable email may look just like a legitimate email with a company logo (Credit Union, Bank, Credit Card logo), but in fact it's forgery with a bogus website or link contained within the email. If the consumer falls for the scam, the thief could get their credit card, bank account, or even their Social Security number.
Pharming is a more complicated scam designed to channel large groups of consumers to bogus websites through browser hijacking or other security loopholes on the internet. Where phishing relies mostly on spam and bogus email links, pharming techniques hijack an unprotected consumer's browser without the manual interaction of responding to an email or clicking on a link.
Reclaim Your PC
What can you do to reclaim your PC after it has been compromised? The right tools in the right hands may prove successful. It is, however, far better, and easier, to prevent the compromise to begin with.
- Start with keeping your computer's operating system (Windows, Linux, MacOS, etc.) up to date. Security flaws are constantly identified so it is recommended to routinely check for updates for your PC's operating system. Keep software applications current as well. The same goes for your mobile devices (Android, Apple iOS) and apps.
- Install Anti-Virus software and keep it updated. An outdated anti-virus program may not protect you from the latest viruses. Set your anti-virus software to automatically update. Consider using a paid version, a free solution, or the one built-in to many PCs called Windows Defender.
- Install Anti-Spyware Software and keep it updated. Unwanted programs, cookies, and spyware can secretly install themselves on your PC and many go undetected by anti-virus programs. Your chosen anti-virus solution may also have this feature.
- Personal Firewalls allow you to isolate your computer for the internet and protect your PC from hackers and intruders. Most modern operating systems have a firewall built in, and it can be turned on or off (turn it on!). This is the minimum protection you should employ. There are third party products with advanced features available.
- If you have 'always on' internet such as Cable, DSL, or Fiber Broadband, hide your PC behind a router to mask it from the internet. Never connect directly to the internet. A simple router using network address translation (NAT) can help make a PC invisible on the internet and thus reduce the chances of hackers or intruders ever knowing that your PC exists. These simple routers are inexpensive to buy and easy to set up, and often come packaged with your internet provider's service. Make sure you follow the instructions to set it up securely, change the default administrative password, and keep its firmware up to date.
- Consider using a secure browser. Most attacks and vulnerabilities are targeted at older browsers, such as Internet Explorer. Consider less vulnerable alternatives. Any browser choice, all software in fact, needs to be kept up to date, just like your PC and mobile devices.
- Consider creating at least one administrative account (password protect it with a strong, long password) and one non-administrative account (also with a unique password) within the operating system of your PC. Always use the non-administrative account while surfing the internet. This will help protect your PC from self-installing malicious code.
Remaining vigilant against threats, proactive on PC and mobile device updates, and current on the latest information are the keys for safe and secure browsing.
- We will never email you for personal information. Any email or text message claiming to be from the credit union, which requests personal data such as Social Security numbers, IDs, or passwords, should not be trusted or opened. Delete them and call your credit union
- Use a different password for online banking than ones you use for other websites and applications
- Do not write down your password, consider a password manager
- Lock your computer keyboard every time you step away, and use a lock screen on your mobile device or phone
- Always log out of your online banking session before leaving your computer