Our online banking system uses many lines of defense to protect your account information. From authentication, SSL, exclusive encryption software, high-end firewalls, and automatic sign-off, your information is always safe—it’s like having a bank vault online.
SSL stands for “secure socket layer”. This technology allows users to establish sessions with secure internet sites, meaning they have minimal risk of external violation. Once inside the online banking site, our use of SSL technology keeps you and your account information secure.
Encryption turns meaningful words and phrases into coded language. Everything that you do during online banking session becomes a string of unrecognizable numbers before crossing the internet. Your account information will be illegible to everyone but you and our financial institution. All of your online banking sessions will be encrypted. We strive to utilize the strongest forms of cryptography that are commercially available for use over the internet.
We take numerous steps to keep your account information secure. However, you must take precautions as well. We urge you to consider the following tips to increase your online security:
General Computer/Network Security
- Update your software frequently to ensure you have the latest security patches. This includes your computer’s operating system and other installed software (Web Browsers, Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Reader, Java, Microsoft Office, etc.).
- Automate software updates, when the software supports it, to ensure updates are not overlooked.
- Maintain active and up-to-date antivirus protection provided by a reputable vendor. Schedule regular scans of your computer in addition to real-time scanning.
- If you suspect your computer is infected with malware, discontinue using it for banking, shopping, or other activities involving sensitive information. Use security software and/or professional help to find and remove malware.
- Use firewalls on your local network to add another layer of protection for all the devices that connect through the firewall (PCs, smartphones, and tablets).
- Password-protect your computer network (wire or wireless). Log off or lock your computer when not in use.
General Online Security
The following guidelines are highly recommended by our institution:
- Never click on suspicious links in emails, tweets, posts, or online advertising. Links can take you to a different web site than their labels indicate. Typing an address in your browser instead of clicking a link in an email is a safer alternative.
- Only give sensitive information to web sites using encryption so your information is protected as it travels across the internet. Verify the web address begins with “https://” (the “s” is for secure) rather than just “http://”. Some browsers also display a closed padlock.
- Do not trust sites with certificate warnings or errors. These messages could be caused by your connection being intercepted or the web server misrepresenting its identity.
- Avoid using public computers or public wireless access points for online banking and other activities involving sensitive information when possible.
- Always “sign out” or “log off” of password protected web sites when finished to prevent unauthorized access. Simply closing the browser window may not actually end your session.
- Be cautious of unsolicited phone calls, emails, or texts directing you to a web site or requesting sensitive information.
Password Best Practices
One of the first lines of defense against cyber crime is your password. We highly recommend the following tips to help keep your information safe:
- Create a unique password for all the different systems you use. If you don’t, then one breach leaves all your accounts vulnerable.
- Never share your password over the phone, in texts, by email, or in person. If you are asked for your password, it’s probably a scam.
- Use unpredictable passwords with a combination of lowercase letters, capital letters, numbers, and special characters.
- The longer the password, the tougher it is to crack. Use a password with at least eight characters. Every additional character exponentially strengthens a password.
- Avoid using obvious passwords such as
- Your name
- Your business name
- Family member names
- Your username
- Dictionary words
- Choose a password you can remember without writing it down. If you do choose to write it down, store it in a secure location.
Mobile Banking Safety
As with all technology, mobile banking is subject to certain risks that you need to be aware of and plan for. Following these tips will help you have a safer, more secure mobile banking experience:
- Invest in an antivirus application for you mobile device to help protect you when downloading apps or mobile content.
- Never provide personal identification or banking information over your mobile device unless you initiate the contact and you know that you are dealing directly with your bank.
- Never share your password, account number, PIN or answers to secret questions. Do not save this information anywhere on your phone.
- Never set the app, web or client-text service to automatically log you in to your bank accounts. If your phone is lost or stolen, someone will have free access to your money.
- Set the phone to require a password to power on the handset or awake it from sleep mode.
- Remember, your bank would never contact or text message you asking for personal or banking information. Assume any unsolicited text request is fraudulent. Giving this information places your finances and privacy at risk.
- Immediately tell your mobile operator and your bank if you lose your phone.
For additional information about protecting your cell phone, read our Smartphone Security tips listed in the next drop-down menu.
In order to better protect your smartphone security, we recommend the following tips:
- Set PINS and passwords. If your phone ends up in the wrong hands, your first line of defense is to require a PIN or password to unlock the screen.
- Use anti-virus software apps. Just like your computer, your smartphone is susceptible to viruses and other malware. You need a security app with the same features as the security software on your computer. Look for one that can detect viruses in websites, texts, email, files and apps.
- Install security apps that enable remote location, locking and wiping. Many apps allow you to locate your phone if it is lost or stolen. If you cannot find it, you may want to lock or wipe the data off of it to prevent someone from using it or looking through any personal information you may have stored on it. In many cases, you can find an anti-virus app that includes these features as well.
- Do not modify your smartphone’s security settings. You may be tempted to “jailbreak” or “root” your phone to access hidden features and unofficial apps. However, doing this can circumvent many of the safeguards that are built into the phone’s operating system, making it more vulnerable to unforeseen risks.
- Backup and secure your data. You should backup all of the data stored on your phone—such as your contacts, documents, and photos. These files can be stored on your computer, on a removal storage card, or in the cloud. This will allow you to conveniently restore the information to your phone should it be lost, stolen, or otherwise erased.
- Only install apps from trusted sources. Before you install an app, research it and make sure it is legitimate. Many apps from untrusted sources contain malware that once installed can steal information, install viruses, and cause harm to your phone’s contents.
- Understand app permissions before a accepting them. Make sure to check the privacy settings for any app you install on your smartphone. You should be cautious to allow an app access to the personal information you have stored on your phone.
- Accept updates and patches to your smartphone’s software. Software, whether on your computer or on your phone, can have flaws that make it vulnerable to malware. As these flaws are discovered, the software developer will release updates to patch them, so it’s important to approve these updates when you see them become available.
- Turn off Bluetooth discovery mode. Unless you need to pair your phone to another device, turn this mode off. Leaving it on all the time will cause your phone to continuously advertise itself to other Bluetooth devices which could result in an unauthorized connection.
- Avoid public Wi-Fi hotspots. When you access a Wi-Fi network that is open to the public, your phone can be an easy target of cybercriminals. You should limit your use of public hotspots and instead use protected Wi-Fi from a network operator you trust or mobile wireless connection to reduce your risk of exposure, especially when accessing person or sensitive information. Always be aware when clicking web links and be particularly cautious if you are asked to enter account or log-in information.
- Wipe data on your old phone before you donate, resell or recycle it. If you do not, you risk exposure of information that you may have forgotten was on your phone.
- Report a stolen smartphone. If your phone is stolen, you should report the theft to your local law enforcement authorities and then register the stolen phone with your wireless provider. This will provide notice to all the major wireless service providers that the phone has been stolen and will allow for remote “bricking” of the phone so that it cannot be activated on any wireless network without your permission.
- Beware of text message spam. Spam can be sent by text message just like by email. Exercise the same caution you would if it was an email. Be very cautious about any texts you receive that contain links. If you do not expect it, you should not open the link. Doing so could expose your phone to unwanted software or unexpected charges on your next bill.