Essential Cybersecurity - Best Practices for Financial Institutions (Part 1 of 2)

February 1, 2018 | Article

The recent Equifax breach proved once again that no organization is safe from cyber threats. Financial institutions and other businesses that hold people’s most sensitive personal information are and will always be prime targets for these attackers. A proactive approach is the best way to ensure your customers’ data remains secure.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. A proactive approach is truly a team effort that involves virtually everyone in your organization. However, there are best practices that you can start today to help increase your organization’s defenses.

Email and Internet Best Practices

Email and the Internet are fundamental to how we work. Here are five tips to help make these areas more secure from cyber threats.

1. Think Before You Click

You just received your 50th email of the day! In your eagerness to get it out of your inbox, did you take a second to investigate the link before clicking? Once a link has been clicked there’s no going back—malicious software can now install itself on your computer. Don’t click on any link unless you know you can trust the source and you are certain of where the link will send you. If you are unsure about a link, the best thing to do is call the sender prior to clicking on the link or send it to your organization’s helpdesk for them to investigate.

2. Secure Web Browsing

This message is brought to you by the letter “S.” That simple letter makes a difference when it comes to secure online communication. “Http” stands for hypertext transfer protocol, while the “s” at the end stands for security. It is important to make sure that “https” is displayed as part of a URL you visit, as it shows the authenticity of the security certificate on that webpage. If you access a webpage without a certificate or one that is expired, there is a chance you are accessing a website that could be loaded with malware, viruses, Trojan horses, or eavesdroppers.

3. Be a Cautious Surfer

It is important that you do not surf the web if you are on an account that has administrator privileges. If you pick up malware using a computer with administrator privileges, you have successfully given the malware the same administrator rights that you have on your user account

4. Be Smart with Your Smartphone

Smartphones are everywhere, and hackers know that, making it another avenue for them to access sensitive data.

  • Don’t open email if you don’t know the sender
  • Don’t answer text messages asking for personal information
  • Use the guest Wi-Fi network at the workplace
  • Use strong phone passwords
  • Turn off Bluetooth when you aren’t using it or when entering sensitive data

5. Create Strong Passwords

Two of the most common passwords are “123456” and “password.” Having more complex passwords can help protect you and your data.
Strong passwords should:

  • Contain at least 12 characters and include upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters
  • Be unique to one person—that means they should never be shared
  • Not be reused on multiple account logins
  • Change every 60 to 90 days

Contact your Eide Bailly Professional for assistance with cybersecurity and best practices in financial institutions.

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