5 things to do to protect yourself against cyber attacks.

Is your information safe from a cyber attack?  

At Vancity, there’s nothing more important to us than protecting our members’ privacy. We go the extra mile to keep your information safe and secure, but there are certain additional steps you can take to protect yourself and your finances in the event of a cyber attack. 

It’s a good idea to regularly take stock of your cybersecurity hygiene no matter the circumstances, but in light of Russia’s ongoing conflict in Ukraine, security professionals are urging Canadians to take extra precautions to keep your online information safe. With that in mind, we encourage you to take a few minutes today to learn and implement these 5 things to protect yourself against cyber attacks.   

Set-up MFA

Add an extra layer of protection against cyber attacks with the help of multi-factor authentication. Setting up multi-factor authentication (or MFA) means you or anyone trying to log in to your account will have to pass through an additional level of verification – like a PIN or security question – to access your device or accounts.   

When it comes to your banking information, multi-factor authentication is usually an option and often a requirement. As a Vancity member, you’ll be asked to sign-up for multi-factor authentication the first time you log in to your account. Once set-up is complete, a one-time code will be sent to your phone with every future log in attempt.  

It almost seems too easy, but this simple measure can be a major deterrent for cyber criminals who have all kinds of methods at the ready for guessing, stealing, or compromising passwords.

Create a Strong Password

You’ve heard this one before, but it’s true: your online security is only as strong as your weakest password. To protect yourself from cyber attacks, you need hard-to-crack log in credentials that only you can guess.  

So, what does a “strong password” look like? Simply put, it contains over 15 characters that are a combination of letters (upper-case and lower-case), numbers, and symbols — and is updated every 3 months. 

If your passwords aren’t up to par, take the time today to update them as an extra layer of protection against cyber attacks. When you do, make sure each password is unique and steer clear of memorable keyboard paths like “asdf” or “1234”.  For Vancity members, feel free to review these additional requirements and tips for creating your online banking password. 

Think Before You Click

Especially if you spend a lot of time online, it’s easy to get in the rhythm of clicking around quickly — but when you receive an unexpected email from an unknown sender, slow down, use your best judgement, and try to spot any immediate red flags.  

Does the sender’s email address include a variety of symbols? Are there grammatical errors or typos in the body of the message? Is the sender requesting sensitive or personal information from you? All of these can indicate a potential “phishing scam”, otherwise known as a fraudulent message, designed to trick us into disclosing sensitive information.  

Even if the sender is familiar to you, stay vigilant and avoid clicking on links provided in emails. A company email may seem trustworthy, but especially if you weren’t expecting it, you’re better off going to the company’s website manually than clicking a link in an email that may be a well-disguised phishing attempt.  

Back Up Important Files

Creating a copy or an archive of the important information stored on your tech devices will not only help protect you from the consequences of cyber attacks, but also help restore your information in the event of a hard drive failure, an accidental error, or physical theft.  

Whether you choose a cloud-based or external storage option (or both), backing up the files that matter most to you will help safeguard your files and your peace of mind. 

Update Privacy Settings

Privacy settings aren’t a “set it and forget it” system: whether they’re related to your social media profile or your online banking portal, you should review them regularly to make sure your setting options align with your values and intentions.  

Depending on the website, your privacy settings can help determine everything from who can discover your profile to how your personal information will be used and stored. Sites are known to update their privacy policies and settings over time, so it never hurts to check your settings and modify accordingly. Learn more about how Vancity protects your online security.  

In times like these, it’s normal to feel a lack of control or fear of the unknown, but tightening your cybersecurity is ultimately your best line of defense against cyber attacks. At Vancity, protecting your personal information is our top priority — and just by implementing these 5 extra cybersecurity measures today, we can work together to keep you and your finances protected.  

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