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Your Life
Your Security

Take steps to protect yourself against cyber threats

We’re all more connected than ever before—from our laptops, to our smart phones, and right down to the appliances in our homes. And while many conveniences have risen as a result, there are measures you can take against ill-intentioned cyber attackers out there. 

Some helpful tips include:

Be smart with passwords and email – Phishing is one of the leading causes of personal data loss. Simply put, it’s someone pretending to be a trusted business or entity in an attempt to access your passwords, personal information, or financial data. Therefore, do not click any link from an untrusted source, do not download any unexpected attachments, and do not give out personal or login credentials over email. If any doubt, call a valid phone number and approach the company directly.

Additionally, create long, intricate passwords for your emails and all your logins and change them often, consisting of at least one upper-case letter, numbers, and symbols like # or %. You can also get password managers that can do it for you and store them securely for use on demand. 

Keep your social media accounts secure – A hacked social media account can be a result of phishing as well. And true to the term, once hacked, you become the trusted bait and your followers becomes the prey. Hackers can use your account to send out malware and phish for others. A few ways to avoid being hacked are to set up multifactor-authentication at sign-in, steer clear of sharing personal information that may be part of a password or a security question, and leave the social media quizzes and games alone, as they can contain malware also.

And for the social media group users with shared interests, such as crafts or baseball, be on the lookout for scammers. Oftentimes, a scammer will post a message that they’re purging inactive members and to reply “yes” if you wish to stay a part of the group. When you do, you can make yourself a target of a hack. 

Be aware of smishing – The principles are the same. Smishing is phishing through SMS texts. If your favorite online store texts you a link requesting updated payment information, don’t tap on it. If one of your online accounts texts you asking to reset your password, don’t open it. Likewise, if an urgent notice comes across saying a utility will be shut off unless you call a phone number, do not call. Just like regular phishing, if there’s any question, contact the organization through authentic, proven channels.

Set up alerts on your financial accounts – As a final measure, you can set up alerts on any pertinent account, such as checking and savings. That way, you can keep an eye on suspicious activity while getting alerts should an unusually large transaction come through or should your balance drop below a certain amount.

At Atlantic Union Bank, we’re here to help safeguard your financial well-being. The Internet may afford hackers anonymity, but let’s make sure that’s their first and only advantage. Take the time to protect yourself and your family. 

Because, as the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

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