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TIPS FOR PROTECTING YOUR COMPUTER FROM UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS

 
With the vast amount of information stored on PCs today – it has become increasingly important for users to protect their computers from unauthorized access. The safety of the personal identification and financial information you access or send via computer is critical – especially if you bank online. These tips are intended to help you create an ongoing plan for managing computer security for your home or office.

USE ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE
Anti-virus software can monitor for malware intrusion, provide warnings in advance of potential file damage and assist with scanning attachments. There are several high-quality providers of anti-virus software including McAfee and Symantec. It is important to subscribe to ongoing updates.

INSTALL A FIREWALL
A firewall can help protect your personal computer and business network by blocking intrusion and some types of unauthorized access.

TRUST YOUR COMMON SENSE
Be wary of opening unexpected attachments or clicking on unfamiliar URLs. If you are unsure, ask someone who may be more familiar. If you are still not comfortable – don’t open or download it.

SEEK PROFESSIONAL ADVICE
If you are concerned about safety for your home computer or business network – consider using the services of a computer safety consultant.

BACKUP YOUR COMPUTER
Consider purchasing an external hard drive or subscribing to an online backup service.

UPDATE YOUR SOFTWARE
Software companies provide updates to their programs as they discover opportunities for improving security.

PROTECTING YOUR MOBILE PHONE
Here a few precautions that should be evaluated for your smartphone. Remember, there are many varieties of phones so it's best to ask your wireless provider about available security features for your particular model. Citywide Banks does not endorse or guarantee any phone model, feature, or wireless provider.

IC3 ALERT - October 12, 2012
The IC3, a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, has been made aware of various malware attacking Android operating systems for mobile devices. Some of the latest known versions of this type of malware are Loozfon and FinFisher. Loozfon is an information-stealing piece of malware. Criminals use different variants to lure the victims. One version is a work-at-home opportunity that promises a profitable payday just for sending out email. A link within these advertisements leads to a website that is designed to push Loozfon on the user's device. The malicious application steals contact details from the user’s address book and the infected device's phone number. Loozfon and FinFisher are just two examples of malware used by criminals to lure users into compromising their devices.

FinFisher is a spyware capable of taking over the components of a mobile device. When installed the mobile device can be remotely controlled and monitored no matter where the Target is located. FinFisher can be easily transmitted to a Smartphone when the user visits a specific web link or opens a text message masquerading as a system update.

Safety Tips to Protect Your Mobile Phone

  • Password-protect your mobile device. When creating a password, choose one that’s easy for you to remember but will be difficult for others to guess.  Also, don’t share your password with anyone or tape it to your mobile device.
  • Utilize your phone's auto-lock security feature. Make sure your auto-lock feature is turned on so it will kick in after a couple minutes. That helps ensure no one will be able to use the phone or tablet without knowing your password.
  • Install lock-sensitive applications. Another useful way to protect personal data on smartphones is to make use of an application locker utility which prevents unauthorized access to applications that contain sensitive personal information.
  • Enable real-time protection. This ensures that all files stored on your mobile device are analyzed each time you attempt to access them.
  • Activate the encryption feature (if it’s built in). While encryption offers some protection and may prevent unauthorized access to your mobile data, many mobile devices don’t include this feature in their operating systems. Check the owner’s manual to see if your phone has encryption, and make sure the feature is included when you purchase a new phone.
  • When purchasing a Smartphone, know the features of the device, including the default settings. Turn off features of the device not needed to minimize the attack surface of the device.
  • With the growth of the application (apps) market for mobile devices, users should look at the reviews of the developer/company who published the application.
  • Review and understand the permissions you are giving when you download applications.
  • Obtain malware protection for your mobile device. Look for applications that specialize in antivirus or file integrity that helps protect your device from rogue applications and malware.
  • Be aware of applications that enable Geo-location. The application will track the user's location anywhere. This application can be used for marketing, but can be used by malicious actors raising concerns of assisting a possible stalker and/or burglaries.
  • Jailbreak or rooting is used to remove certain restrictions imposed by the device manufacturer or cell phone carrier. This allows the user nearly unregulated control over what programs can be installed and how the device can be used. However, this procedure often involves exploiting significant security vulnerabilities and increases the attack surface of the device. Anytime a user, application or service runs in "unrestricted" or "system" level within an operation system, it allows any compromise to take full control of the device.
  • Do not allow your device to connect to unknown wireless networks. These networks could be rogue access points that capture information passed between your device and a legitimate server.
  • If you decide to sell your device or trade it in, make sure you wipe the device (reset it to factory default) to avoid leaving personal data on the device.
  • Smartphones require updates to run applications and firmware. If users neglect this it increases the risk of having their device hacked or compromised.
  • Avoid clicking on or otherwise downloading software or links from unknown sources.
  • Use the same precautions on your mobile phone as you would on your computer when using the Internet.

You should regularly re-evaluate your current mobile security applications and the need for further protection.

If you suspect illegal access or other fraudulent activity within your bank account, please contact your banker or call customer service immediately – 303-365-3650.