Cybersecurity Tips You Haven’t Thought of Yet

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October is Cybersecurity Month, which means it’s time to take a hard look at your digital life to ensure everything you have online is as safe as your finances are with Dime.

We turned to Dime’s Information Security team for their thoughts on cybersecurity. Alex Leon is the CISO at Dime Community Bank, and has more than 25 years of experience doing cybersecurity for financial companies (and with more certifications to his name than we can fit in a single paragraph). Maraike Harten is Dime’s Information Security Risk Manager with more than 15 years in the technology field, and holds several certifications of her own, including a CISM certification. Jeff Rowe, Information Security Manager, obtained his CISM certification earlier this year. And Soraya St. Clair was the Dime team’s first summer intern currently studying Digital Forensics.

They definitely know their stuff.

So, according to Alex and his team, here are some of the best cybersecurity tips that you haven’t thought about yet — but probably should.

Your computer isn’t the only device you need to make sure is secure

You probably have some kind of virus protection on your computer, which is good. But with digital home assistants like Alexa and Google Home, home systems like Ring and Nest, smart TVs, and even your Roomba — that’s a lot of Wi-Fi-enabled technology that can be hacked by eager cyber thieves.

If you leave your devices unsecured, you might as well be leaving your front door open while you’re on vacation. From data theft to ransomware infections, your data could be at risk if you’re not careful. Make sure you secure your devices and your Wi-Fi.

Your data can be hacked from places you least expect

You know how much personal data your computer stores. From your passwords and your Google search history to your Netflix viewings and your Amazon shopping cart, your computer might know more about you than you do. And leaving it open and unsecure is pretty dangerous.

But it’s not the only thing that tracks you. Think about your fitness tracker. It knows where you go and when you leave, each and every day. The same applies to your smartphone-synced alarm system, which knows when you arm and disarm your home. Hackers who’ve broken into your devices can turn into thieves who break into your home.

Cyber hygiene is a thing, and you should definitely be doing it

Everyone has a morning routine. Shower, brush teeth, apply deodorant. Simple things that make us pleasant to be around. And you do them every day (sometimes multiple times a day). But there are some important cyber hygiene activities that you also should be doing to ensure your information stays clean and safe.

The most important of which is to ensure your passwords are strong. Using words that you can find in the dictionary, even when you change some of the letters with numbers and symbols, can still be easily guessed by the right hacker. A string of nonsensical words (intermixed with numbers and symbols, of course) or a combination of everything that doesn’t even resemble a word are much stronger options. Even those can be hacked after enough time, though, so make sure you change your passwords regularly, and use multi-factor authentication.

Take the time to encrypt your Wi-Fi, especially if you have some of those home devices that we mentioned earlier. Install antivirus software on all of your devices (yes, they even make some for your smartphone and tablets), and set them to update daily and scan weekly. And though it can be a pain, don’t delay your software updates. Just update them whenever they pop up — because there’s a good chance they include a security update or two that could help prevent hacking.

Take your cybersecurity as seriously as Dime does

Dime is committed to protecting your finances and personal data, but we recognize that it is a responsibility we share with you when it comes to online safety and security. Whenever we see something that doesn’t seem right, we raise the alarm and spring into action, and we hope you will too. We are dedicated to ensuring that you learn as much about cybersecurity as we have. While we might keep some things proprietary (like the secret to our amazing staff), we believe everyone is better when they’re better informed.

The internet is easily one of the greatest tools ever created, but it’s important that we protect ourselves from those who want to turn it into a harmful one. We’ll do our part to help keep your information safe.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or thoughts about cybersecurity, please feel free to contact your Dime representative at 1-800-321-DIME (3463).

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