Neighborhood Credit Union

Protecting Your Information

We live in a technology-driven society where people are constantly on their smartphones checking emails, browsing the Internet, making phone calls, sending text messages, and, yes, even checking up on their finances. While being able to access our information on the go is convenient, it also makes us vulnerable to cyberattacks that can steal our personal and financial information.

According to an article done by the Wall Street Journal, 53 percent of smartphone owners have used some kind of banking app in the past 12 months making them prime targets. What hackers will do is create malicious software that can be embedded in SMS messages or tapping ads and will lay dormant until the person opens a banking app.

We wanted to pass along some helpful tips on how you can keep your smartphone secure and have peace of mind when accessing your accounts online.

Use authentication features

If you have to unlock your phone by putting in some kind of passcode then you’ve taken the first step to keeping your information secure if someone were to physically take your phone from you. However, this is only one barrier for hackers to get through. You need to have some kind of extra security other than a password.

With mobile bank accounts, authentication has gone beyond security questions. The use of biometrics to keep online accounts secure is on the rise. For Neighborhood CU mobile accounts, we have options like Touch ID where you can sign in by scanning your fingerprint. Or we have Eyeprint ID, particularly useful for Android phones, where you can log in by scanning your eyes. Taking advantage of authentication features can help keep your private information just that: private.

Never share credentials

It is never a good idea to share your online username and password with anyone, including tax payers, financial advisors, pay day lenders, etc. Yes, we know many budgeting and third party apps request you automatically share your login information. But know that when and if you share, you are assuming the risk and responsibility for any money you could lose as a result. There are ways to work with other financial parties to securely share the information they need without exposing unnecessary information.

Know what you download

This can be boiled down to basic common sense. If you don’t know the source you’re downloading from, it’s probably not a good idea to be downloading that app, especially when it comes to financial apps. Only download from the official source whether it be from the app store or website.

For example, you can safely download the MyNCU Mobile App on the App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store. We even have our website linked to take you directly to the app so you know it’s secure. It’s all about downloading smart!

Be aware of public Wi-Fi

We’re all guilty of this one. Being able to use Wi-Fi at Starbucks, cafes, and bookstores are extremely convenient if you need to hop on the Internet real quick. But (you saw this coming) you need to be cautious about what you do while using unsecure networks because your information can become exposed to hackers.

Your MyNCU app is secure, waiting to do banking business on a secured network is always ideal. It’s the best way to keep your information out of the wrong hands.

Change your password periodically

If you have a Yahoo account and haven’t changed your password, do it now! But this applies to any account you think might be compromised. Keeping your password safe and changing it periodically will decrease your chance of being hacked.

Now we all do this, but it’s not secure to use the same password for multiple platforms. This is called “credential stuffing.” According to USA Today, 50 percent of people use the same password on different platforms. So when hackers have the email they can try the password to see if it works on any other site.

Once hackers gain access to other accounts, they are able to assemble “profiles” including as much information as the hacking group has about a person, assembled from multiple sources over time.

Always update your OS

Taking care of your phone’s operating system can help you keep your phone and your information secure. That includes keeping your software up to date because the new version could have specs that make it more secure than the previous version. For extra security, having antivirus software on your phone for some more protection is never a bad idea. According to a recent study by SAS and Javelin Strategy and Research, less than one-third of smartphone owners use mobile antivirus or anti-malware software on their phones.

But sometimes updating your operating system isn’t enough. Tampering, or “jail-breaking,” your OS to run unauthorized apps can make your device more vulnerable to attacks. When you do this to your phone, it removes the security restrictions set by the manufacturer and gives apps more access to the core functions of the phone.

If you ask us, those extra apps aren’t worth risking your personal and financial information.

Keep an eye on us

Yes, you read that right. If you receive something from Neighborhood CU that doesn’t seem right, reach out and let us know. We can confirm whether we did send that email or text message so you don’t become a cyberattack victim.

Happy browsing!