NEW JERSEY -- Don't ignore the new iPhone update that's been popping up for months, say the cybersecurity experts at Freedom Bank. By installing the newest operating system on your mobile device and following other simple precautionary measures, you can instantly boost the security of your online financial identity.
As e-commerce continues to grow, consumers can find themselves at risk for hacking and cyber theft. In the majority of theft cases, most hackers are simply just looking for the weakest link to pick off. "Majority of cyber theft start with ’Phishing’," said Joel Sweren, CFO of Freedom Bank, headquartered in Maywood, N.J. “People get into an account electronically and begin working their way around."
Hackers can gain access through a variety of ways. Take the standard 'warning' email for example. Hackers claiming to represent a bank pose as fraud-fighters themselves, demanding account information and passwords to ward off a fictional assault. No matter how legitimate the requests may seem, it's important to avoid response. According to Sweren, banks will never ask customers to input their information in an emergency situation. Instead, they prompt customers to contact their local branch by phone and discuss any suspicious activity.
Another way hackers can access information is through online purchases. "If you go onto a retail site, make sure the site is secure, has an https:// URL and has a green lock showing in the top bar proving it is secure," said Sweren. He also cautions against making purchases or accessing sites with passwords on public networks. "Hackers can easily get in through an unprotected wireless network," he said. "If you intend to insert any personal information or user identification information, i.e. passwords, you should ensure that your Internet connection itself is password protected. If you are using a public network, do not provide any personal information or use any passwords."
Exercising security also is important on mobile phones. "Many of the updates for Apple and Android phones relate to security patches," said Sweren. Delaying these updates can leave security holes exposed to hackers.
Ultimately, the most effective form of cybersecurity is practicing common sense. "Don't access attachments or pop up screens. Don't access emails from unfamiliar sources," said Sweren. Change passwords regularly. Sites that require multi-step authentication also enhance security and make it more difficult for hackers who are looking for easy targets.
Although the number of big theft issues saw a drop in 2016 and consumers have become more careful, security is a constant battle. "Vigilance is a big key," said Sweren. "Security is a combination of actions that need to be taken to make hacking more difficult for anyone who is so inclined."
To learn more about the cybersecurity options available at Freedom Bank, visit its website.