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October 2, 2023

Cybersecurity Month: Protecting Your Account from Online Threats 

In today’s digital age, online banking has become an integral part of our lives. It offers convenience, efficiency, and accessibility, allowing us to manage our finances from the comfort of our homes or on the go. However, with the convenience of online banking comes the risk of cyber threats. October is National Cybersecurity Month, making it the perfect time for all of us at Citizens First Bank to share essential tips to help you protect your financial information and keep your checking account secure. 

Use Strong, Unique Passwords 

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to protect your checking account is by using strong and unique passwords. Avoid easily guessable passwords like “123456” or “password.” Instead, create complex passwords that combine letters, numbers, and special characters. Make sure each online account, including your online banking account, has a distinct password. Using a password manager can help you generate and store complex passwords securely. 

Enable MultiFactor Authentication (MFA) for Your Online Accounts

Multifactor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts. Typically, MFA requires you to provide something you know (your password) and something you have (a code sent to your mobile device) to access your account. Enabling MFA for your checking account can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access, even if your password is compromised. 

Regularly Monitor Your Account Online 

Frequently monitoring your checking account transactions is crucial to identifying any suspicious activity promptly. Set up account alerts to receive notifications for large withdrawals, low balances, or any unusual activity. If you spot any unauthorized transactions, contact Citizens First Bank immediately to report the issue. 

Beware of Phishing Scams Online

Phishing scams are a common method used by cybercriminals to trick individuals into revealing their sensitive information, such as login credentials or account numbers. Be cautious of unsolicited emails or messages that ask you to click on suspicious links or provide personal information. Always verify the authenticity of the sender and avoid sharing sensitive data through email or text unless you’re certain it’s secure. 

Keep Your Devices and Software Updated 

Regularly updating your devices (computers, smartphones, tablets) and software (operating systems, antivirus, and security programs) is essential for staying protected against security vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals often exploit outdated software to gain access to your accounts. Enable automatic updates whenever possible to ensure you have the latest security patches. 

Use Secure Wi-Fi Connections When Online

Avoid conducting financial transactions or accessing your checking account on public Wi-Fi networks. These networks are often less secure and can be susceptible to eavesdropping. Instead, use a secure, password-protected Wi-Fi network or consider using a virtual private network (VPN) when accessing your accounts remotely. 

Educate Yourself and Stay Informed 

Staying informed about the latest cybersecurity threats and best practices is crucial. Follow reputable cybersecurity blogs, websites, and news sources to stay updated on emerging threats and security trends. Knowledge is your best defense against online threats. 

Your checking account holds a significant portion of your financial assets, making it a prime target for cybercriminals. Taking proactive steps to protect your account is essential to ensure your financial well-being and peace of mind. During National Cybersecurity Month, Citizens First Bank encourages you to strengthen your online security practices. By using strong passwords, enabling multifactor authentication, monitoring your account, and staying vigilant against phishing scams, you can safeguard your checking account from online threats and enjoy the benefits of online banking securely.