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Shop online with greater protection! We've partnered with Visa to offer additional protection when using your debit card online. Registering with Verified by Visa lets you create your own username and password. Once activated, you'll receive a password entry page when shopping at participating Verified by Visa online merchants – so only you can use your card.

Register now at www.ssbfergus.com/verifiedbyvisa or the next time you shop at a participating online merchant.

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Cybersecurity Tips

From Wipfli CPAs and Consultants

Tip #2

Install and Update Antivirus Software

One of the top methods of computer attacks comes from malicious software (malware), to the extent that there are tens of millions of new pieces of malware each year. Malware can be transmitted to a computer from file downloads, e-mail attachments, USB thumb drives, and other removable media. To make matters worse, malware is often disguised as something safe or even helpful like antivirus software.

What can you do?

Install antivirus software. Use a product that is going to address all types of malware. A lack of anti-malware software leaves the system vulnerable to a very common and prevalent attack vector. Attackers often use malware to gain access to a system, capture key strokes, or utilize the system as part of a botnet.

Choose a reputable antivirus manufacturer (e.g., McAfee, Kaspersky, Sophos, Symantec). With this product, you get what you pay for. With each year's new batch of malware, you need a team of dedicated professionals to keep the software effective. A paid subscription is well worth it.

Next, use that subscription and keep the software AND the virus definitions/signatures up to date. Use auto-update options within the software to check at least daily for updates to both. There are some days when vendors release thousands of new definitions/signatures throughout a given day. Timing is everything if a new piece of malware is on the rampage!

Any time you use USB thumb drives (or other removable media), run a full scan on it. Often you will have such an option if you right-click on the drive letter in your explorer window. Be sure this is the first thing you do after connecting it to your system. Keep in mind that portable media like USB devices can carry all sorts of malware, so make sure, even before plugging it in, that you know where it came from.

This also holds true for e-mail. All e-mail attachments should be scanned before they are opened. Even though antivirus software may filter your e-mail before it gets delivered to you, take the extra step to scan again. You may have this option by right-clicking on the attachment, or some antivirus programs will scan as soon as you attempt to open them. Know how your version works. Either way, give it another scan.

"Which antivirus software should I use?" Want to know who the best is? Visit http://www.av-comparatives.org. They run many different types of tests against various AV vendors' software and on different types of platforms. Check it out and see what would work for you!

(Please note that if you click the link mentioned in this article you will be leaving the Security State Bank Website.  We do not make representation as to the completeness or accuracy of the information provided at the listed site.)

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Traveling Securely

Summer is finally here, and for many of us, that means it’s time to get away! It’s not surprising that many cybercriminals target travelers. Luckily, with a little care, it’s possible to protect yourself and avoid potential problems.

Sharing isn’t always caring:
     Avoid publicly posting details of where and when you’ll be traveling. When you reveal these specifics, you’re providing information that could be used by criminals to target your home or your family while you’re gone. 
     Sending private posts and photos during your vacation to family and friends is OK, but if you post them publicly, you increase the risk of someone using that information for malicious activities. Also, ensure your children and friends understand the risks associated with posting your vacation plans.

Accessing public computers and Wi-Fi:
     Don’t use public computers and open wireless networks for sensitive online transactions. Wi-Fi® spots in airports, hotels, coffee shops and other public places can be convenient; however, they’re often unsecure and can leave you at risk. 
     If you’re accessing the internet through an unsecured network, you should be aware malicious individuals might be able to eavesdrop on your connection. This could allow them to steal your financial information, login credentials or other sensitive information. Any public Wi-Fi should be considered “unsecure.” 
     Consider turning off features on your computer or mobile device that allow them to automatically connect to Wi-Fi and other services such as social media websites.
     Also, consider using a cellular 3G / 4G connection as a hotspot, which is generally safer than an open Wi-Fi connection. If you do connect through your hotel’s Wi-Fi, verify the name of the Wi-Fi hotspot with a hotel staff member.

Know the law:
      Keep in mind that if you’re traveling abroad, different countries have different laws, which may allow government employees or law enforcement full access to your device without your knowledge or permission. It’s also important to know the local laws regarding online behavior, as some online behaviors, such as posting disparaging comments or pictures of illegal activity on social media websites, can be illegal.

Recommendations: Below are tips to protect your important information.

1. Use discretion when posting information online. Consider keeping your social media pages private, so only authorized individuals can visit.

2. Password protect your devices so if they’re lost or stolen, the information is protected. Also, enable device tracking.

3. Make sure your laptop and other mobile devices have the latest patches installed. Your software vendor should notify you whenever an update is available. Set your devices to automatically update.

4. Use of security software is a necessity. Some programs can also locate a missing or stolen phone, tablet or other similar device. Some devices can even back up and remotely wipe all data from them, if reported stolen.

5. Make sure you have anti-virus software installed, updated and running.

6. Don’t access sensitive accounts (for example: financial institutions, credit cards, etc.) or conduct sensitive transactions over public networks, including hotel and airport Wi-Fi and business centers or cafes. Whenever possible, use wired connections instead of Bluetooth® or Wi-Fi connections.

7. Don’t plug USB cables into public charging stations. Only connect USB-powered devices using the intended AC power adapter.

Brought to you by:  Center for Internet Security - "STOP-THINK-CONNECT"

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Security State Bank Raises Awareness for Your Data Privacy.

Fergus Falls– In recognition of National Data Privacy Day on Jan. 28th, Security State Bank is urging consumers to take an active role in protecting their data.

"Security State Bank's first priority is to protect our customers' money and their financial data," said Dave Fournier, IT Operations Specialist. "We use a combination of safeguards to protect our customers' information, and we encourage our customers to partner with us in that effort."

To help ensure the safety of personal information, Security State Bank suggests following these four tips:

1. Create c0mplic@t3d passwords. Avoid birthdays, pet names and simple passwords like 12345. It is also important to change passwords at least three times a year. Because friendly theft – theft by someone the victim knows – is the most common type of identity theft or fraud, don't share your passwords with family members and be mindful of who has access to your personal information.

2. Keep tabs on your accounts. Check account activity and online statements often, instead of waiting for the monthly statement. You are the first line of defense because you know right away if a transaction is fraudulent. Sign up for text or email alerts to be notified of transactions over a certain dollar amount or online transactions. If you notice unusual or unauthorized activity, notify your bank right away. When a customer reports an unauthorized transaction in a timely manner, the bank will cover the loss and take measures to protect the account.

3. Stay alert online. Be sure computers and mobile devices are equipped with up-to-date anti-virus and malware protection. Never give out your personal financial information in response to an unsolicited email, no matter how official it may seem. Your bank will never contact you by email asking for your password, PIN, or account information. Only open links and attachments from trusted sources. When submitting financial information on a website, look for the padlock or key icon at the top or bottom of your browser, and make sure the Internet address begins with "https." This signals that your information is secure during transmission.

4. Protect your mobile device. Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen. Before you donate, sell or trade your mobile device, be sure to wipe it using specialized software or using the manufacturer's recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen. Use caution when downloading apps, as they may contain malware and avoid opening links and attachments – especially from senders you don't know.

Tips for Victims:

If you are a victim of fraud and suspect your personal information has been compromised, you should take the following steps:

 Call your bank and credit card issuers immediately so they can take necessary steps to protect your account.

 File a police report and call the fraud unit of the three credit-reporting companies.

 Consider placing a victim statement in your credit report and a fraud alert on your account.

 Keep a log of all the contacts you make with authorities regarding the matter. Write down names, titles, and phone numbers in case you need to re-contact them or refer to them in future correspondence.

 Contact the FTC's ID Theft Consumer Response Center at 1-877-ID THEFT (1-877-438-4338) or www.ftc.gov/idtheft.

Data Privacy Day commemorates the 1981 signing of the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. It is led by the National Cyber Security Alliance, a non-profit, public private partnership focused on cybersecurity education for all online citizens.

Security State Bank of Fergus Falls

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Cybersecurity Tips

From Wipfli CPAs and Consultants

Tip #3

Download Software Only From Reputable Websites

Software downloads are a great way to disguise malware. There are numerous sites that serve as repositories for independent developers and/or open-source software, which makes validating the source of the software and the download difficult. Without knowing where the software or the download originated, you could expose yourself to some very harmful software.

What can you do?

Major software vendors that we are all familiar with operate their own websites to distribute or sell their own software. Use a major vendor's site to download their software. (e.g., Microsoft, Apple, Google).

How can I safely get software from open-source or independent developers?

Even open-source projects typically have their own websites where you can safely download the software. First, search for favorable references to the project or developers from sources like industry news and review sites or software publishers you've worked with in the past. There are trustworthy software repository sites for lots of independent developers and open-source software. Even with trusted repository sites, it's important that you still consider the publisher of the application.

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Cybersecurity Tips

From Wipfli CPAs and Consultants

Tip #1

Use Strong Passphrases

Passwords are naturally subject to many different attacks. Shared password conventions can increase the likelihood of passwords being guessed. Shorter passwords of dictionary words with few or predictable numbers (e.g., the year) and not using all types of complexity are easily cracked with freely available tools and inexpensive graphics cards.

What can you do?

Avoid your username, the same password with just a different digit, seasons, and other easily guessable aspects to your password. Instead, use a passphrase. A passphrase is a sentence that you can easily remember. The longer your passphrase, the stronger it is.
Making your passphrase strong can limit the success of humans and/or computers in guessing your passphrase. Using only simple sentences is becoming less effective with the decreasing cost of consumer graphics cards, which allow  approximately 8,810,000 NTLMv2-encrypted password hashes (how domain user’s passwords are stored in Active Directory) to be attempted each second.

How to make a strong passphrase

Start with a normal phrase that means something to only you so you can remember it. Do not use common quotes from books or other cultural artifacts. Write it down, including spaces.

Super best phrase of pass that only I can remember

Add capitalization in odd places.

SupEr best pHrase of paSs that Only I caN remember

Add numbers.

SupEr7best90 pH32rase of paSs th00at Only I c4aN rem9ember

Add special characters ( !#$)(*&%<>?”:{}|][,./;’ @).

SupE$r7best90 pH32&rase” of paSs: th00at O,nly I c4aN re;m9ember

That looks too hard for me to remember so I’ll simplify.

SupE$r best90 paSs:

I’ll type it into a window that will not save my work but will allow me to read what I have typed a few times to engage muscle memory.

SupE$r best90 paSs:
SupE$r best90 paSs:
SupE$r best90 paSs:
SupE$r best90 paSs:
SupE$r best90 paSs:
SupE$r best90 paSs:
SupE$r best90 paSs:

Now that I’ve typed it a few times, I have an idea of how I usually mess up typing the passphrase, which I use as part of my memory of how to type out the passphrase. Destroy the written copy of this password-generation process that we started with. Now you have a strong passphrase that you can remember.

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