Staying Secure Online

With data breaches on the rise and more and more people online, staying secure online is vital. Be proactive when it comes to securing your information online and don’t wait until your cyber security is violated before taking action.


Take the following steps to help protect your privacy online:


  1. Improve your passwords. Don’t create passwords with personal significance, as this makes it easy for hackers to access accounts. Hackers can guess as many as 200 word combinations per second, so passwords should be unique and different for every site. Create passwords that are real phrases spelled with symbols, using easily remembered punctuation and numbers. Passwords should be at least nine characters long with a mix of uppercase and lowercase characters, numbers and symbols.


  1. Avoid clicking suspicious links. Using enticing links, or click-bait, is one of the easiest ways for scammers to lure unsuspecting victims. Clicking the link to celebrity news or gossip allows them to install malware to steal your identity. Scammers will even go as far as to send links from email addresses stored in your inbox, so they look legitimate. If you really want to visit a link, go directly to the source, not an email or pop-up.


  1. Keep personal information out of range of public hotspots. Public Wi-Fi is public. Wi-Fi at a coffee shop, hotel or other establishment is generally not protected, so don’t use it for credit card transactions or entering passwords.


  1. Monitor financial statements closely. Although chip-and-pin (also known as EMV) cards – credit cards with microchips – are expected to help stop “point-of-sale” breaches with an additional layer of security, stopping credit card fraud is extremely difficult. Check financial statements on a regular basis, and immediately report fraud to your financial institution.


  1. Back-up documents. Ransomware is a popular type of malicious software that infects a victim’s computer and demands payment in exchange for regaining access to documents. Backing up important documents to an external hard drive is the best way to fight against ransomware, which can be unknowingly downloaded when users open attachments or click links. Do not pay up, because there’s no guarantee you’ll regain access.


Find more information on securing your information online by visiting or calling (405) 239-6081.

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