10 Most Important Cyber Security Tips for Our Customers

The Farm Bureau Insurance family of companies takes extraordinary efforts to protect our customers’ information. We also support our customers who may become victims of identity theft by providing our auto insurance policyholders with the benefit of free access to CyberScout. CyberScout is an identity-theft education and resolution program that you and your household members can use as often as needed. We thought that passing some Cyber Security safety tips on to you would be something you might find valuable as well. The internet has become a space riddled with malicious links, Trojans, and viruses. Data breaches are becoming more frequent, and unsuspecting people are more vulnerable than ever before. When one click can cost thousands, and even millions, people need actionable to-do’s that can help them stay alert and safe online. Here are our top 10 cyber security tips for you!

1. Clicking Without Thinking Is Reckless

Just because you can click, doesn’t mean you should. Remember, it can cost you a hefty sum. Malicious links can do damage in several different ways, so be sure to inspect links and ensure they’re from trusted senders before clicking. On a computer you can generally hover your pointer over a link to see where it goes. On an iPhone hold down the link to see where it goes. If it seems suspicious DON’T click on it.

2. Use Two-Factor Authentication

It’s important to have a strong password, but it’s even more imperative to have two-factor, or multi-factor, authentication. This method provides two or more layers of security measures so if a hacker can accurately guess or steal your password, there is still an additional security measure in place to ensure that your account is not breached. See if your bank, credit card company, Amazon, etc. have optional two-factor security that you can enable. This typically consists of sending a text message to your phone or even a phone call and providing you an additional code to enter.

3. Look Out for Phishing Scams

With over 3 billion fake emails sent daily, phishing attacks are some of the greatest cybersecurity threats as they are very easy to fall for. In a phishing attack, a hacker will pose as someone that the recipient may be familiar with to trick them into opening a malicious link, divulging important credentials, or opening software that infects the recipient’s system with a virus. The best way to be on the lookout for phishing scams is by avoiding emails from unfamiliar senders, look for grammatical errors or any inconsistencies in the email that looks suspicious, and hover over any link you receive to verify what the destination is.

4. Keep Track of Your Digital Footprint

When you monitor your accounts, you can ensure you catch suspicious activity. Can you recall everywhere you have online accounts and what information is stored on them, like credit card numbers for easier payments? It’s important to keep track of your digital footprint, including social media, and to delete accounts you’re not using, while ensuring you set strong passwords (that you change regularly). Also, don’t post when you are going to be out of town on your social media accounts. Criminals can use this information seeking a good time to burglarize your home.

5. Keep Up With Updates

Software patches can be issued when security flaws are discovered. If you find these software update notifications to be annoying, you’re not alone. But you can consider them the lesser of two evils when weighing up rebooting your device versus putting yourself at risk for malware and other types of computer infection. The best option is to enable automatic updates. You can simply search the Internet for “Enabled Windows Automatic Updates” or something similar for your computer, web browser, and other important software. This is also generally an option when installing software.

6. Connect Securely

Cyber security tips about this have been dished out by nearly every tech expert under the sun, but many still don’t follow this advice. You might be tempted to connect your device to an unsecured connection, but when you weigh the consequences, it’s not worth it. Only connect to private networks when possible, especially when handling sensitive information. If you do use public Wi-Fi at coffee shops, retail stores, etc. be sure not to log on to any sites containing sensitive information or credit card numbers. Save this type of activity for when you are on a trusted network such as your home.

7. Secure Your Mobile Device

Security doesn’t end at your desktop. It’s important to get into the habit of securing your presence through your mobile device as well. Use strong passwords and biometric features, ensure you turn off your Bluetooth when not in use, don’t automatically connect to any public Wi-Fi, and download with caution. The cellular data connection is generally safer than using public Wi-Fi networks.

8. Beware of Social Engineering

When hackers can’t find a security vulnerability, they’ll attack in other ways. Enter social engineering. This type of attack is more of an attack on the mind of the user, rather than on the device, to gain access to systems and information. Especially with the information publicly available online and over social media, cyber criminals come up with creative ways to dupe users. They may pretend to be Microsoft Support, Apple Support, the IRS, etc. Don’t let them dupe you!

9. Back-Up Your Data

These days, storage doesn’t cost much. There’s no excuse not to have a backup of important data. Back it up on a physical location, such as a USB drive, and on the cloud. Remember, malicious threats and hackers don’t always want to steal your data, but sometimes the end-goal is to encrypt or erase it. Back it up to have an ultimate recovery tool.

10. You’re Not Immune

The most harmful thought you can have is “it won’t happen to me,” or “I don’t visit unsafe websites.” Cybercriminals don’t discriminate in targeting all sorts of users. Be proactive. Not all mistakes can be undone.

Simple cyber security tips like these can go a long way in preventing a catastrophe, but they’ve only scratched the surface of how you can protect yourself. Working to implement the tips given here as well as equipping yourself with additional knowledge as technology advances further is the best thing you can do to secure the data of you and your loved ones.

Interested in our free CyberScout service? Talk to a local agent about switching your auto insurance to Farm Bureau Insurance in Arkansas.