Personal Resources Digital Banking Security Tips for Consumers: General PC and Password Security
Many consumers opt to use their computers or laptops when banking or shopping online. In addition, many applications require password logins to keep your account secure. Creating unique passwords while following safe practices when using your PC can help keep your device secure, prevent scammers from accessing your accounts and reduce the likelihood of your accounts being hacked.
General PC and Password Security Tips
- Maintain active and up-to-date antivirus protection by a reputable vendor. Schedule regular scans on your computer in addition to real-time scanning. If your antivirus product includes cloud-based protections, be certain those are enabled.
- Update your software frequently to ensure you have the latest security patches. This includes your computer’s operating system and other installed software (e.g., web browsers, Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Reader, Java, Microsoft Office, etc.) Updating your compute and applications allow you to patch vulnerabilities available. Leaving out device outdated can allow hackers to insert malicious programs into your computer and network.
- Automate software updates, when the software supports it, to ensure it’s not overlooked. Choosing an antivirus software program that proactively runs in the background and informs you if a threat is present will help keep your device and online activity safe.
- If you suspect your computer is infected with malware, discontinue using it for activities involving sensitive information. This includes banking, shopping and anything that requires passwords. Use security software and/or professional help to find and remove malware.
- Use firewalls on your local network to add another layer of protection. This is valid for all devices that connect through the firewall (e.g., PCs, smart phones, and tablets).
- Require a password to gain access. Log off or lock your computer when not in use. Use a cable lock to physically secure a laptop when the device is stored in an untrusted location.
- Create unique passwords for all your accounts. Create unique passwords for all the different systems/websites you use. Otherwise, one breach leaves all your accounts vulnerable. Strong, unique passwords are more difficult for scammers to guess.
- Never share your password. If you are asked for your password, it’s probably a scam. Scammers will often try to get you to give them your private information to access your accounts. They will try to contact you through an email or text claiming to be from a financial institution. This is fraud, as Vantage Bank will never try to contact you asking for your passwords.
- Use undiscoverable passwords. Undiscoverable passwords will include a combination of lowercase letters, capital letters, numbers, and special characters. We recommend using a secure Password Manager software to help keep track of passwords and generating secure unique passwords.
- The longer the password, the tougher it is to crack. Use a password with at least eight (8) characters. Every additional character exponentially strengthens a password.
- Avoid using obvious passwords. Avoid using passwords with names (e.g., your name, family members’ names, business name, username, etc.), dates, (e.g., birthdays, anniversaries, etc.), and dictionary words.
- Choose a password you can remember without writing it down. If you do choose to write it down, store it in a secure location. Using a secure Password Manager software can help you keep track of your passwords for all your accounts.
To learn more about information security, visit any of the following websites or contact our team at Vantage Bank.
DISCLAIMER: This material is for informational purposes only. Vantage Bank assumes no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one's reliance on the material provided.