What You Can Do
Your home network is a busy place; you and your family use it for personal finance, gaming, social media and personal communication. Keeping it secure is a big part of protecting your privacy and identity. In this section we’ll suggest ways you can protect your personal computing hardware as well as your computer network. It’s all part of helping you create a strong defense against fraudsters and criminals. And, it’ll help you protect all of your online experiences and accounts, not just those you have with us.
- Monitor Your Account Activity
- Create a Strong Password
- Use Multifactor Authentication
- Install Anti-Virus (AV) Software
- Use a Personal Firewall
- Update Your System and Applications
- Browse the Internet Safely
- Beware of Suspicious Emails, Phone Calls and Texts
Monitor Your Account Activity
The sooner that fraud is identified, the less impact it can have on your life, so it’s important to check your account(s) frequently for unusual activity.
Create a Strong Password
It’s hard to believe it, but one of the most common passwords people select worldwide is "password", and fraudsters know it. Choosing a strong password for any online account is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself. When choosing a password, remember:
- Never use dictionary words for your password
- Never use easily identifiable personal information (for you or your family) for your password
- Never share your passwords or write them down
- Never use the same password for different accounts
When possible, consider using a passphrase rather than a password. While passphrases are longer, they’re much easier to remember, and creating them is as easy as making a short sentence and adding numbers, special characters and varying capitalization provides for an even greater security level. You can also create an acronym from a longer sentence that is meaningful to you, or from an easy-to-remember piece of information. Substituting numbers, symbols, and misspellings for letters or words will make it even more secure:
My son’s birthday is 12 December, 2004 = Msbi12/Dec,4!
I love to play badminton = ILuv2Pl4yB@dm1nt0n.
Use Multifactor Authentication
First Tech is taking your Online Banking experience to the next level by giving members the option to use multifactor authentication to increase your account security. Multifactor authentication is an advanced way to make certain that you, and only you, gain access to your accounts and financial information, and because it’s separate from your computer, it's not susceptible to viruses or fraud. Members who request this added layer of security for their accounts are given a security key (either a physical token, or an application for your mobile device) that periodically generates a random code that you can use to log in to your accounts.
We offer a Mobile or "Soft Token" for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry devices. Just follow the steps below to set up your new security key:
When you log in to Online Banking, you'll be prompted to enter a random 6-digit code generated by your Security Key in addition to your user name and password. Just enter that code, and you’re ready to go!
Install Anti-Virus (AV) Software
As you browse the Internet, certain web pages may install unwanted programs, cookies, spy programs, etc., to your system. Many of these can perform serious harm to your computer and can give the fraudsters “inside” tools to steal your information. We recommend you install both anti-virus and anti-spyware programs on your computer to help protect you. Avast is a great anti-virus program and MalwareBytes is recommended for anti-spyware. We strongly encourage you to keep them both up-to-date and scan your system often.
Use a Personal Firewall
Personal firewalls are one of the best ways to protect your home computer / laptop from a virus or malware in today’s world of high-speed internet, open kiosks, free Wi-Fi access, etc. They monitor the incoming and outgoing traffic from your computer looking for attacks or suspicious activity, and then block those attacks before they can do any damage. Personal firewalls are easy to setup and use, and provide a much greater degree of security than just your anti-virus alone.
Update Your System and Applications
Just like your car, your computer needs regular tune-ups. Be sure to regularly check for updates and install security patches to ensure your operating system and applications are up-to-date and as secure as possible. Secunia has a good tool to scan, detect and update your computer’s vulnerable programs.
Browse the Internet Safely
Fraudsters will sometimes try to set up fake websites to trick you into giving them your information, so it’s important to make sure that you’re on the REAL First Tech Federal Credit Union website before you attempt to log-in. Look for green text or shading and a lock icon in the address bar, and verify that you’re at www.firsttechfed.com.
Financial websites aren’t the only websites that fraudsters try to fake, so be sure to check the address bar in your browser for these signs before you provide them with your information. You should also be careful what links you click on when browsing the internet, because some links can download malicious software (malware) such as a virus to your computer. While Internet Explorer is arguably the world’s most popular web browser, that also means fraudsters specifically gear malware to attack it. Consider using a secure web browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
Beware of Suspicious Emails, Phone Calls and Texts
Phishing, Vishing and smishing are all just different terms for when a fraudster tries to fool you into giving them your information over email, your phone, or via text message. If you ever receive a communication from First Tech that seems suspicious, or just doesn’t seem to make sense, DO NOT click on the links or follow the instructions in that message without first verifying that the message is legitimate. You can do this by contacting First Tech directly at 855-855-8805, or by emailing our Fraud Department. Here are a few of the things that you should watch out for:
- Urgent and/or time-sensitive requests for information – Be wary of communications that try to create a sense of urgency in the message. Fraudsters want you to think with your emotions and not your head when making decisions about your security and privacy, and creating a sense of urgency is one of the ways that they do this.
- Typos and/or errors in messaging – Cybercrime is a numbers game, and the more communications and fake websites that a fraudster can push out, the greater their chances of success. That rushed mentality can sometimes lead to sloppy presentation in their messaging, so be on the look-out for typos, grammatical errors, and rough visual designs.
- Requests for personal and/or sensitive information – In some instances, we may ask for general personal information to verify your identity over the phone, but First Tech will never request for you to respond to emails or text messages with your personal information (i.e., password, PIN, account #, etc.). If you receive a call from First Tech requesting this information and you’re not sure about the source, contact the First Tech Contact Center directly and ask to be routed to the appropriate personnel to continue the discussion.
- Deals that seem too good to be true – While the products and services that we provide are great, as the old saying goes: “If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Providing fake goods or services in exchange for your personal information is a favorite tactic of fraudsters, so if you receive a message from First Tech asking for you to provide your information in order to take advantage of a great deal, don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly for clarification before you take action.