Financial Education Blog

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October is national Cybersecurity Awareness Month. In our ultra-connected world, it seems like cybercriminals and malicious links creep around every corner. News stories of ransomware attacks and data breaches costing millions of dollars fly past our news and social media feeds almost constantly.

 

We get it; it can be overwhelming. With so much information bombarding us, it can be hard to focus on the right actions to take to keep your information secure.

 

That’s why 7 17 Credit Union is recognizing Cybersecurity Awareness Month by sharing tips to help you stay cyber secure, both at work and at home. To turn away cyber-attacks, a little knowledge teamed with critical thinking skills can go a long way!

 

What is cybersecurity?

According to IBM, cybersecurity is the practice of protecting critical systems and sensitive information from digital attacks. Also known as information technology security, cybersecurity measures are designed to combat threats against networked systems and applications, whether those threats originate from inside or outside of an organization.  

In 2020, the average cost of a data breach was $3.86 million globally, and $8.64 million in the United States. These costs include the expenses of discovering and responding to the breach, the cost of downtime and lost revenue, and the long-term reputational damage to a business and its brand. Cybercriminals target customers’ personally identifiable information - names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and credit card information - and then sell these records in underground digital marketplaces. Compromised personal information often leads to a loss of customer trust, regulatory fines, and even legal action.

 

It starts with you

7 17 Credit Union is committed to providing our members with the safest online and mobile banking experience that we can by implementing the most sophisticated security technology. But we can’t do it alone. We want you, our members, to be aware of the measures you can take to safeguard your information.

 

Tips for your home

  • Have separate devices for work and personal use
  • Connect to an Ethernet (wired) or at least a Wi-Fi protected access for a secure wireless connection
  • Use a virtual private network whenever possible to access employer systems/data
  • Keep your router and modem firmware up-to-date
  • Secure devices like smart speakers and appliances by using a strong, unique password whenever possible

Tips for traveling

  • Don’t use public Wi-Fi when accessing confidential information. Use a personal hotspot instead
  • Keep devices secure and accounted for at all times
  • Disable automatic Bluetooth pairing
  • Don’t allow your devices to auto-join unfamiliar Wi-Fi networks
  • Don’t use borrowed chargers or public charging stations

Cloud security reminders

  • Enable multi-factor authentication that requires a separate device when possible
  • Practice good password hygiene
  • Never save passwords in your browser
  • Keep work related communications to systems approved by your organization
  • Check privacy/location/security settings on apps and restrict any unnecessary access

Physical security reminders

  • Never use unknown USB devices
  • Always lock your workstation
  • Keep confidential information secure – use privacy screens and headphones if necessary
  • Implement a clean desk policy by removing business documents, notes, etc.
  • Don’t allow unauthorized individuals to tailgate or piggyback into a secure setting

For more information about cybersecurity, visit https://www.ibm.com/topics/cybersecurity