Security Tips to Keep You--and Your Data--Safe

On September 7, Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus, announced it had suffered a major data breach. This breach is in no way the fault of the credit union, nor do we have any way of knowing which members [if any] could be affected. Still, with it being such a major concern to all Americans, we are deeply concerned about this and any situation that could cause our members financial distress.

It is important to note that your credit union is always actively monitoring credit and debit card use in order to prevent fraud. We have unparalleled security in this regard. As always, should you have any questions or concerns, we are here to help you by phone at 814.266.6787 or please stop by any office today!

We encourage all credit union members to review the following security tips.

SECURITY TIPS TO KEEP YOU SAFE
We know how important security is to our membership. That's why we've compiled a list of security tips to help keep you safe when it comes to online banking, mobile banking, and wireless internet.

General Tips

Keep Track of Your Mobile Device
Perhaps the biggest risk is also the reason why mobile banking is so popular. Mobile devices are easy to carry around with us everywhere we go. They can contain everything from passwords to contact lists to our calendar appointments. Information like that can be dangerous if your mobile device falls into the wrong hands.

Be Careful What You Download
While there aren’t as many examples of malware out in the mobile device market as there are on traditional PCs, the fact remains that mobile devices are just specialized computers. That means it’s possible for someone to design an app that could try to access your information. One way this could happen is if the app hides a key logger.

A key logger is a program that records—or logs—keystrokes. Every letter or number you enter could be recorded. If a hacker pairs a key logger with some code that either sends off an email or text message at certain times of the day, you might be sending all your keystrokes to someone that could be located anywhere on the globe.

Use Official Credit Union Mobile Banking App Whenever Possible
The credit union goes to great lengths to ensure any information sent across a network by our app is encrypted.

Avoid Banking While on Public Networks
Many mobile devices allow you to connect to different types of networks, including Wi-Fi networks. You might be tempted to check your balance or make some transfers while you grab a quick drink at the coffee shop. But before you log into your account, make sure you’re not connected to the public network.

Public connections are not very secure. Most places that offer a public Wi-Fi hotspot warn users not to share sensitive information over the network. If you need to access your account information, you may want to switch to another network. If you’re using a smartphone or other cellular device, disabling the Wi-Fi and switching to the cellular network is a good solution.

Don’t Follow Links
You may have heard of the term phishing before. Phishing refers to the practice of tricking someone into revealing private information. You should never follow a banking link sent to you in a text message or email. These links could potentially lead you to a fraudulent/spoofed website. If you enter your information into such a site, you’ve just handed your data over to thieves. It’s always a good idea to navigate to a website directly.

Internet Security Tips
Do not use your full or partial Social Security number as a Personal Identification Number [PIN], user ID, or password.

Make sure that your password is eight or more characters with a strong combination of letters, numerals, and symbols. Do not use the same user ID and password for your financial accounts as you do for other websites.

Use the screen lock feature for your mobile devices.

Do not use your mobile device to store sensitive personal information or banking account numbers. USSCO’s Mobile Banking App allows you to access your accounts and related details without exposing your account numbers.
Never respond to urgent emails claiming to be from a bank, credit union, or any company that requests your account information or personal details.

Limit the amount of personal information you provide on social networks. The more information you post, the easier it may be for hackers to use that information to steal your identity, access your data, or commit other crimes.

Be cautious about messages you receive on social networking sites that contain links. Even links that look like they come from friends can sometimes be harmful or fraudulent—attempting to gain control of your computer or steal your personal information. If you are suspicious, don’t click the link. Contact your friend or the business directly to verify the validity of the link.

Keep your computer operating system and browser up-to-date with the latest software and security downloads. These might be called “patches” or “service packs” and should be installed as soon as possible.

Don’t open attachments or install free software from unknown sources; this may expose your computer and the information on it to unauthorized sources.

Make sure you have Antivirus/Anti-spyware software installed and that it is up-to-date. These software packages help detect and remove viruses and spyware, which can steal vital information.

Mobile Accounts Security Tips
Lock Your Devices
Set your phone or tablet to auto lock when not in use, and use a strong, unique password to unlock it.

Minimize Stored Information
Do not store login information on your mobile phone. Regularly delete text messages and old calendar entries, clear browser history, and delete files.

Do Not Send Sensitive Information via Text
Contrary to popular belief, text message are not secure and may be intercepted. This is why USSCO Federal Credit Union will never send your name or account number via text message.

Confirm the Source of Requests for Your Information
When a caller or text sender asks sensitive questions or directs you to take specific actions such as dialing a number or visiting a website, confirm their identity before proceeding.

Disable Bluetooth When Not in Use
Disconnecting Bluetooth, a non-secure connection, helps prevents hackers from obtaining or sending malicious code into your device.

Steps to Stronger Wireless Security
When you set up your networks, or at your earliest convenience, review your wireless user manual to make sure you know how it works.

1. Create a unique Service Set Identifier [SSID]. Essentially this is the “address” that identifies your wireless connection. Hackers know the most commonly used SSIDs, so changing it from the default version will help thwart their efforts.

2. Change the wireless password regularly, using a strong combination of letters, numbers, and special characters to deter system hacking.

3. Disable the Broadcast option from your SSID features options. SSID Broadcast helps cyber crooks find your wireless connection and gain unauthorized access to the network.

4. Enable the encryption feature so that only your intended recipients can access the information you send.

5. Disable File and Print Share features to limit criminals being able to steal data or commandeer resources should they bypass encryption.

6. Secure your wireless access point to reduce the opportunity for others to access your network.


These suggestions should reduce the likelihood of security breaches but do not guarantee total wireless security. Guard your information carefully and know what to do in the event that your wireless network is hacked.

The information and recommendations contained here have been compiled from sources believed to be reliable and represent the best current opinion on the subject. No warranty, expressed or implied by USSCO Federal Credit Union, is made; particular situations may require additional actions.

This document is designed to provide general information only and is not comprehensive nor is it legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. USSCO Federal Credit Union does not make any warranties regarding the results obtained from the use of this information.



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