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Top tips: How to protect yourself online

The internet is part of nearly every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s working online, online shopping, using apps on a mobile device, email, social media or reading the news, the internet and your information are accessed daily.

It’s important to remember that in addition to offering convenient access to resources, the internet can also expose you to social engineering, identity theft, fraud or other cybercrimes.

Protect yourself online

What we do online, whether at home or at work, has the potential to affect everyone. To help prevent online fraud or loss, make an effort to improve and change your online habits using the below tips:

Online habits

  • Set strong passwords with at least eight characters in length and a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters, and make a point to change them on a regular basis. Better yet, create a passphrase‡ for even tighter security.
  • Use different passwords for every account – It may be easier to remember one password, but if the password and email address you use for one account gets in the hands of the wrong person, they may start trying those credentials on other sites and services. Consider also using a password safe‡ and commit the master safe password to memory only.
  • Think before you click – Be vigilant about the links you click in an email, even if they seem routine. Don’t click odd social media messages with links or urgent alerts about packages unless you first verify the authenticity of the message. If you receive a online message you believe is suspicious, verify it with the sender by calling them or talking in person before taking any action.
  • Watch out for phishing scams that use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not click links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from unfamiliar sources.
  • Keep personal information personal – Your dog’s name. Your travel plans. Your hometown mascot. Cybercriminals can use any information you share online to figure out your passwords and security question answers in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting information like birthdays, addresses, pet names, mother’s maiden name, etc. Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know.
  • Pick your plastic –When shopping online, use credit cards, not debit cards. This may help minimize the damage in the event of a compromised account.

Securing technology

  • Keep your computers and mobile devices updated – Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system are one of the best defenses against viruses, malware and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.
  • Secure your internet connection – Always protect your home wireless network by changing the manufacturer’s temporary password to a new one that is more sophisticated. Avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks‡ that are unsecured and be cautious about what information you are sending when you’re connected to unfamiliar networks.
  • Incorporate two-factor authentication – Most email platforms, apps and online accounts offer a two-factor authentication (2FA)‡ which is a security process in which you’re asked to provide two different authentication factors to verify yourself. This method can better protect your credentials and account. In addition, multi-factor authentication, also known as MFA, adds another layer of security, exchanging the username and password model with a code that only you have access to (typically sent to something they have immediately on hand).
  • Use the passcode or biometric lock‡ on your smartphone and other devices. A passcode, fingerprint, or facial recognition scan will make it more difficult for criminals to access your information if your device is lost or stolen. Enable the “Find your device” feature, if available.

Learn more about basic online security tips to keep yourself, your customers and your business safe online by visiting UMB’s Security and Privacy Center.

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When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.

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When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s Web site and go to Web sites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other Web sites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.