Security Center

Important tips to keep your account safe

Double your login protection. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all accounts and devices to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. Use it for email, banking, social media, and any other service that requires logging in. If MFA is an option for your online services, enable it by using a trusted mobile device or an authenticator app. To learn how to enable MFA in Southland’s Digital Banking and wherever you have accounts online, read our Multi-Factor Authentication Guide

Shake up your password protocol. According to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidance, you should consider using the longest password or passphrase permissible. Get creative and customize your standard password for different sites, which can prevent cyber criminals from gaining access to these accounts and protect you in the event of a breach. Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passwords for each of your accounts. Check out our Creating a Strong Password Guide for more tips.  

If you connect, you must protect. Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game device, or other network devices, the best defense against viruses and malware is to update to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. Sign up for automatic updates, if you can, and protect your devices with anti-virus software.

Play hard to get with strangers. Cyber criminals use phishing tactics, hoping to fool their victims. If you’re unsure who an email or text message is from—even if the details appear accurate— or if the message looks ‘phishy,’ do not respond and do not click on any links or attachments found in that email or text. When available use the “report phish” or “report” option to help your organization or email provider block other suspicious emails before they arrive in your inbox. Read the Phishing and Spoofing Guide for more information on how to identify these tactics. 

Never click and tell. Limit what information you post on social media—from personal addresses to where you like to grab coffee. What many people don’t realize is that these seemingly random details are all criminals need to know to target you, your loved ones, and your physical belongings—online and in the real world. Keep Social Security numbers, account numbers, and passwords private, as well as specific information about yourself, such as your full name, address, birthday, and even vacation plans. Disable location services that allow anyone to see where you are – and where you aren’t – at any given time. Read the How to Stay Safe on Social Media Guide for more tips on how to secure your identity on social media. 

Keep tabs on your apps. Most connected appliances, toys and devices are supported by a mobile application. Your mobile device could be filled with suspicious apps running in the background or using default permissions you never realized you approved—gathering your personal information without your knowledge while also putting your identity and privacy at risk. Check your app permissions and use the “rule of least privilege” to delete what you don’t need or no longer use. Learn to just say “no” to privilege requests that don’t make sense. Only download apps from trusted vendors and sources.

Stay protected while connected. Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot – like at an airport, hotel, or café – be sure to confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. If you do use an unsecured public access point, practice good internet hygiene by avoiding sensitive activities (e.g., banking) that require passwords or credit cards. Your personal hotspot is often a safer alternative to free Wi-Fi. Only use sites that begin with “https://” when online shopping or banking.

Update your system regularly. A crucial cyber safety tip is to keep your software, browsers and operating systems up-to-date. Whether you are on a personal or work computer, keeping up with the most current configurations is imperative for your personal, or your company’s, cyber security. An easy way to ensure you don’t miss a vital update is to set your software to automatically update. Remember, the older your system is, the easier it is for hackers to find and exploit your sensitive information.


More Resources

FTC Consumer Resources

Internet Crime Complaint Center,

Stop Ransomware,


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