ABCs of online security


Though the internet has many advantages, it can also make users vulnerable to fraud, identity theft and other scams. According to Symantec, 12 adults become a victim of cybercrime every second. Natbank N.A. recommends the following tips to keep you safe online :

7 tips for protecting yourself online

1. Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defense against viruses, malware, and other online threats.  Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.

2. Set strong passwords: A strong password is at least eight characters in length and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

3. Watch out for phishing scams: Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information.  Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from sources you are not familiar with.

- Forward phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at – and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the email.

4. Keep personal information personal: Hackers can use social media profiles to figure out your passwords and answer those security questions in the password reset tools.  Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, mother’s maiden name, etc.  Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know.

5. Secure your internet connection: Always protect your home wireless network with a password.  When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it.

6. Shop safely: Before shopping online, make sure the website uses secure technology.  When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with https.  Also, check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears on the page.

7. Read the site’s privacy policies: Though long and complex, privacy policies tell you how the site protects the personal information it collects.  If you don’t see or understand a site’s privacy policy, consider doing business elsewhere.

Tips to Protect Your Identity

According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft has topped its list of consumer complaints every year, for the last 15 years.  Identity theft occurs when a criminal obtains and misuses someone’s personal information without permission, typically for economic gain.  For many victims, it can result in drained bank accounts, poor credit, and a damaged reputation.

Natbank N.A. recognizes the devastating effects identity theft can have on an individual.  Our goal is to work together with our customers to make sure every precaution is taken to safeguard their personal data.”  National Cybersecurity Awareness offers the following tips to help consumers protect themselves from becoming a victim of identity theft:

1. Don’t share your secrets: Don’t provide your Social Security number or account information to anyone who contacts you online or over the phone.  Protect your PINs and passwords and do not share them with anyone.  Use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them periodically.  Do not reveal sensitive or personal information on social networking sites.

2. Shred sensitive papers: Shred receipts, banks statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.

3. Keep an eye out for missing mail: Fraudsters look for monthly bank or credit card statements or other mail containing your financial information.  Consider enrolling in online banking to reduce the likelihood of paper statements being stolen.  Also, don’t mail bills from your own mailbox with the flag up.

4. Use online banking to protect yourself: Monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions.  Sign up for text or email alerts, when available.

5. Monitor your credit report: Order a free copy of your credit report every four months from one of the three credit reporting agencies at

6. Protect your computer: Make sure the virus protection software on your computer is active and up to date.  When conducting business online, make sure your browser’s padlock or key icon is active.  Also look for an “s” after the “http” to be sure the website is secure.

7. Protect your mobile device: Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices.  This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen.  Before you donate, sell or trade your mobile device, be sure to wipe it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique.  Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen.  Use caution when downloading apps, as they may contain malware and avoid opening links and attachments – especially for senders you don’t know.

8. Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately

Tips to Small Businesses for Combating Fraud

Cybercriminals are targeting small businesses with increasingly sophisticated attacks.  Criminals use spoofed emails, malicious software spread through infected attachments and online social networks to obtain login credentials to businesses’ accounts, transfer funds from the accounts and steal private information, a fraud referred to as “corporate account takeover.

Small businesses remain in the crosshairs of cybercriminals.  You can shield your company from attack through a strong partnership with your financial institution.

Combating account takeover is a shared responsibility between businesses and financial institutions.  Bankers can explain the safeguards small businesses need and the numerous programs available that help ensure fund transfers, payroll requests and withdrawals are legitimate, accurate and authorized.  Companies should train employees about safe internet use and the warning signs of this fraud, because they are the first line of defense.

We’re far more effective at combating account takeover when we combine resources than going at it alone.  We can teach you about the tools your business can use to minimize this threat.

As part of National Cyber Security Awareness, Natbank N.A. offers small businesses these tips to help prevent account takeover:

- Educate your employees. You and your employees are the first line of defense against corporate account takeover.  A strong security program paired with employee education about the warning signs, safe practices, and responses to a suspected takeover are essential to protecting your company and customers.

- Protect your online environment. It is important to protect your cyber environment just as you would your cash and physical location.  Do not use unprotected internet connections.  Encrypt sensitive data and keep updated virus protections on your computer.  Use complex passwords and change them periodically.

- Partner with your bank to prevent unauthorized transactions. Talk to your banker about programs that safeguard you from unauthorized transactions.  Call backs, device authentication, multi-person approval processes help protect you from fraud.

- Pay attention to suspicious activity and react quickly. Look out for unexplained account or network activity, pop ups, and suspicious emails.  If detected, immediately contact your financial institution, stop all online activity and remove any systems that may have been compromised.  Keep records of what happened.

- Understand your responsibilities and liabilities. The account agreement with your bank will detail what commercially reasonable security measures are required in your business.  It is critical that you understand and implement the security safeguards in the agreement.  If you don’t, you could be liable for losses resulting from a takeover.  Talk to your banker if you have any questions about your responsibilities.


For more information, refer to the « I keep it to myself » campaign, supported by three financial institutions including National Bank.