Keeping Online Data Secure
After a year of data breach after data breach dominating the headlines, many consumers are understandably concerned about the security and privacy of their personal data.
According to a 2021 CivicScience poll, 87 percent of Americans worry about computer hackers accessing their personal, credit card or financial information. Unfortunately, consumers are right to worry – cybercrime is on the rise. In fact, the Internet Crime Complaint Center reports that consumers lost more than $6.9 billion to cybercrimes in 2021 – a 7 percent increase from the previous year.
Protect Yourself from CybercrimeWhile those statistics may seem daunting, you aren’t defenseless against cyber criminals. Taking proper precautions is critical for protecting your sensitive information online. Here are some important protections you should consider to help safeguard your data.
1. When in Doubt, VerifyCriminals are getting more and more sophisticated, and they often use social engineering to trick victims into thinking fraudulent requests for information or money are the real deal. Email phishing scams are one of the most common ways criminals attempt to access personal data. Read emails carefully, even from known senders. If something seems suspicious, give the sender a phone call to verify the message is legitimate. Red flags include emails that are poorly formatted or use bad grammar, emails asking for you to update your user name and/or password, and emails that request personal data.
2. Double Check Email Address DomainsDon’t just look at a sender’s name on an email; take time to review the actual email address and domain. Fraudsters can easily spoof an email address, and trick you into thinking you are corresponding with someone you know rather than a hacker.
3. Be Wary of Email Attachments and LinksNever open an attachment or click on a link within an email from an unknown sender. One of the simplest ways for hackers to gain access to your data or network is by tricking you into downloading an attachment or clicking on a link. Phony attachments can infect your computer with malicious software, so use extreme caution before opening. Hover over a link before clicking on it to review the full URL, or open a new browser and manually type in the URL to avoid being redirected to a criminal site.
4. Create Strong PasswordsWhile it’s tempting to use the same password for all of your accounts, it’s best to create unique, long passwords with different combinations of letters (upper and lowercase), numbers, and symbols. Try to avoid passwords that include personal information, such as your last name + your birth year, as those are easier to hack. Consider using a software generating tool to help you create and store strong passwords.
5. Keep Your Systems and Software Up to DateAlways stay current with the latest operating system, browser, anti-virus and other critical software updates. These updates can help protect against system vulnerabilities and keep bad actors at bay.
SouthState conducts routine risk assessments to ensure every aspect of data protection is considered, including using advanced software to test its firewalls and other security protocols and even simulating attacks quarterly to make sure every employee is well-versed in the latest phishing schemes.
For more information about SouthState’s security and data protection measures or to learn more about how you can keep your sensitive information safe online, please visit our fraud and identity theft resource center.