Protect Your Smartphone, Computer, and Online Information

MMFCU wants to help you protect your online activities and keep them secure, whether it be on-the-go with your smartphone, or on your computer. Be aware of online fraud methods and become informed of ways you can protect yourself while on the internet. Online fraud is serious. Internet criminals use several methods to try and steal your personal information.

Types of Online Fraud

  • Phishing. Fraudulent emails that attempt to trick you into visiting a bogus website and providing personal information.
  • Malware. Software that is malicious, such as viruses, worms and spyware, and is used to take remote control of a computer, delete files or install programs.
  • Keystroke Logging. A form of malware that enables a criminal to record computer keystrokes. These programs specifically look for user IDs, passwords, and credit card numbers. The thieves then use this information to access accounts online and steal funds, capture personal financial information and order merchandise.
  • Trojan Horses. Another form of malware that use a legitimate looking program (such as a free screen saver) that includes malicious software. These are used to trick users into installing keystroke logging and other malicious software.

Protect Online Information

Control physical access to your personal computer (PC) and smartphone. Take appropriate measures to prevent unauthorized persons from using your PC or taking your smartphone. If you’re using your PC and need to walk away for any reason, log off or lock your workstation.

  • Select passwords that would be difficult for others to guess and change them frequently. Use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Do not give your password out to anyone. Do not save your passwords on any websites or leave written notes with your password near your computer.
  • Check your balances and online activity frequently. The more often you check your accounts, the more likely you will catch any signs of fraud on your account.
  • Always log off your personal online banking application once you are done, or on any website for that matter.

Protect Your Smartphone

Smartphones continue to grow in popularity and are now as powerful and functional as many computers. It is important to protect your smartphone just like you would protect your computer as mobile cybersecurity threats are growing. These mobile security tips can help you reduce the risk of exposure to mobile security threats:

  • Set PINs and Passwords. To prevent unauthorized access to your phone, set a password or Personal Identification Number (PIN) on your phone’s home screen as a first line of defense in case your phone is lost or stolen. Configure your phone to automatically lock after five minutes or less when your phone is idle.
  • Do not modify your smartphone’s security settings. Do not alter security settings for convenience. Tampering with your phone’s factory settings, jailbreaking, or rooting your phone undermines the built-in security features offered by your wireless service and smartphone, while making it more susceptible to an attack.
  • Backup and secure your data. Backup data stored on your phone such as your contacts, documents, and photos. These files can be stored on your computer, on a 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 downloading an app, conduct research to ensure the app is legitimate. Checking the legitimacy of an app may include such things as: checking reviews and confirming the legitimacy of the app store. 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 accepting them. Be cautious about granting apps access to personal information on your phone or otherwise letting the app have access to perform functions on your phone. Make sure to check the privacy settings for each app before installing.
  • Install security apps that enable remote location and wiping. An important security feature widely available on smartphones, either by default or as an app, is the ability to remotely locate and erase all of the data stored on your phone, even if the phone’s GPS is off. In the event that you misplace your phone, some apps can activate a loud alarm, even if your phone is on silent. These apps can also help you locate and recover your phone when lost.
  • Accept updates and patches to your smartphone’s software. Keep your phone’s operating system software up-to-date by enabling automatic updates or accepting updates when prompted from your service provider, operating system provider, device manufacturer, or application provider. By keeping your operation system current, you reduce the risk of exposure to cyber threats.
  • Be smart on open Wi-Fi networks. When you access a Wi-Fi network that is open to the public, your phone can be an easy target of cybercriminals. Limit your use of public hotspots and instead use protected Wi-Fi from a trusted network operator or mobile wireless connection to reduce your risk of exposure, especially when accessing personal 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, re-sell or recycle it. Your smartphone contains personal data you want to keep private when you dispose of your old phone. To protect your privacy, completely erase data off of your phone and reset the phone to its initial factory settings.
  • Report a stolen smartphone. The major wireless service providers, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission, have established a stolen phone database. 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.

Protect Your Personal or Business Computer

  • Install virus management software on your PC, keep it up to date, and scan it regularly.
  • Install a firewall to protect each computer or a home router that includes a firewall to protect your home network.
  • Keep your computer up to date with current security patches. Set up your computers to automatically install patches so that you don’t have to remember.
  • Be cautious when downloading and running programs or Java or ActiveX applets as they may contain unsecure data which cannot be filtered. (Only download from a trusted site.)
  • Be cautious when using public computers. Only use them for anonymous Internet browsing. Public computers may not have appropriate security controls and could be compromised. These include Internet cafes, computer labs, shared systems, kiosk systems, conferences, and airport lounges.

Report suspicious activity you notice relating to your computer or use of your computer to the appropriate parties and do so as quickly as possible. If you notice suspicious activity relating to accounts at MassMutual Federal Credit Union, promptly report the activity to MMFCU at 800.940.9466.