Your First Line of Defense
When it comes to guarding against cybercriminals and ensuring cybersecurity at all levels, it’s important to think of your password as your first line of defense. Hackers are becoming increasingly skilled, accomplished, confident, and cunning. They are armed with robust data dictionaries, and dictionaries of words – in both English and other foreign languages. Their ever-evolving strategies and technologies have been estimated to now work effectively enough to break two-thirds of all online passwords. So when fighting back, it’s important to be equally vigilant – and intelligent. Right from the get-go. Right at the first line of defense.
Tips + Tactics
- Create strong and unique passwords
- Add complexity to your password with upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols
- Remember that longer is better and safer (10-14 characters is ideal)
- Never use dictionary words in your password as those passwords are easy to compromise. A few examples of dictionary words are “password, secret, fishing, baseball, etc.
- Change your password three to four times every year
- Never give your password to anyone – online or off
- Never use your name, social security number, or obvious personal information
- Add an extra layer of security by using spaces in your password
- Keep a record of all your passwords (and store in a safe, secure place)
- Use a phrase instead of a word
- Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts
- Never click on email weblinks that state your password has been compromised and you need to change your password using the weblink
- Always go to the website directly and change your password via the website; and never go through an email weblink, as the email could be fraudulent
Send Hackers Packing
We want to assume our email accounts are safe. After all, email and software providers must provide iron-clad security to any and all accounts, right? Well, not necessarily. No matter how smart or big they are, email providers simply can’t guarantee your cybersecurity when you sign up for their services. Hackers know this to be true. And they strategically attack email providers to gain access to user accounts. Sometimes, they directly attack individual email accounts – using malware, phishing, social engineering, and other assorted scams. Don’t let them get to you. Send them packing with these email security strategies.
Tips + Tactics
- Obtain separate email accounts for each of your needs (personal, business, alerts, etc.)
- Use strong and unique passwords that contain at least a symbol, a number and a letter (change often, at least every 90 days)
- Avoid using the same password you use for email accounts on your banking website
- Use data encryption to transmit personal information
- Routinely check your email account settings
- Never send sensitive personal information (i.e. Social Security Number) over email
- Employ spam filters to reduce risk of unwanted and potentially unsafe email
- Beware of unsolicited email; hackers can pretend to be anyone! Always verify with the sender before opening an attachment or clicking a link.
- Where available, enable two-factor authentication in your email service (you’ll then receive an email and/ or text when there’s a login from a new computer)
- Only access email accounts from secure networks
- Avoid accessing email accounts from public Wi-Fi hotspots
- Be alert to social engineering email attempts (cybercriminals and scammers pretending to represent established companies)
A Note On Malicious Emails
Exercise extra caution when receiving email messages appearing to originate from banks or financial institutions. Cybercrime has increased significantly in recent years – and malicious email messages claiming to come from trusted entities are designed to deceive you into divulging your nonpublic personal information. Opening file attachments or web links contained in suspicious emails could expose your entire computer system to a costly cyberattack.
To help guard your information from predators, never provide your account information, password or token number over the phone or by email. Pacific Premier Bank will never ask you to enter personal or account information via email or to download an attachment from email, nor will we ever ask you for your password, token or other security credentials via email or by telephone.
Let’s Talk® More
We hope you’ve found this informative and helpful. All of us at Pacific Premier Bank remain devoted to safeguarding and ensuring your security while banking with us. We also welcome the opportunity to talk to you about meeting and exceeding any and all business and personal banking needs you may have.
Give us a call at 888.414.0515 and Let's Talk®.
Download Cybersecurity Guides
Cybersecurity at a Glance – A Brief Guide to Serious Security
Cybersecurity Matters – An In-Depth Look at Online Security