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  • Email Phishing - Protecting Your Home and Small Business Computers

    Monday, November 5, 2012

    Whether you own a small business or use your home computer for financial activities, you need to be aware of Email Phishing which can ultimately lead to identity theft and corruption of your small business and home computers. 

    What is Email Phishing?
    Phishing emails are crafted to appear as if they have been sent from a legitimate organization or known individual. These emails often attempt to entice users to click on a link that will take the user to a fraudulent website that appears legitimate. United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT)

    Common forms of Email Phishing
    Phishing emails are becoming very personalized posing as your cable company, utilities, credit cards, mobile phone carrier, banks, and many more entities that you do business with on a regular basis.  The most common threat of Email Phishing right now is malware.  If you click on a link inside of an email that was intended for phishing; your computer can become infected with malware.  The malware will attempt to steal your personal information, usernames and passwords to systems such as online banking.

    Trigger events that can lead to Email Phishing
    Here are some trigger events that fraudsters may try to leverage with Phishing Emails.

    • Natural disasters (Hurricane Sandy, Southern Indiana tornados)
    • Political elections
    • Holidays
    • Economic conditions
    • Tax season

    Here are some steps to take in order to protect you against Phishing.

    • Make sure that email spam/junk filters are turned on and configured properly.  Consult with your email provider or IT specialist for assistance.
    • Do not click on links or open attachments in suspicious looking emails.  Delete them immediately and tag them as spam/junk within your email system.
    • Log into your known sites from your web browser to verify if an email is legitimate as the links in emails can be easily spoofed to go somewhere other than where it looks like it will go.
    • Be leery of unsolicited emails asking for personal information or presenting links to click on in order to update account information, track orders, overdue bills, cancelled ACH/Wire transactions, etc.
    • If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
    • Do not email sensitive information in email unless it is encrypted.  Banks and other businesses should provide secure email systems to communicate regarding account information.
    • Do not store usernames/passwords, account information, SSN numbers, or other personal information in your email systems as if you do become infected with malware it will attempt to scan your email for this information.
    • Make sure that you have anti-malware/virus programs installed on small business and home computers and they are always updated and perform frequent scans.
    • Make sure that you keep other programs such as Java, Adobe programs, Internet browsers, and other online programs updated with the most current patches.

    More information about Email Phishing and Cybersecurity
    Here are some good web sites to obtain more information about email phishing.

    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt127.shtm
    http://www.us-cert.gov/nav/report_phishing.html
    http://www.dhs.gov/cybersecurity

    Information about anti-malware programs
    MutualBank does not endorse the products listed below and are provided as examples of free anti-virus/malware detection and removal tools.

    http://free.avg.com/us-en/homepage
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/products/security-essentials
    http://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/free-tools.aspx

    Remember, you can call us anytime. Let us know if you have questions or concerns for your bank accounts. Call 800-382-8031or email customersupport@bankwithmutual.com.

  • Using Social Media? Protect Yourself Against Fraud.

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    Social media is great! We love to post our pictures, chat with friends and connect with companies and people with which we may have lost touch. However, we need to make sure that what we put on social media doesn't affect our security.

    I'm sure you're asking me, "how could this happen?" Let me give you a hypothetical example.

    Mary Jones has accounts at her local bank. She loves her online banking and bill pay for its convenience. Mary is a busy mother who doesn't have time to write checks and send in payments. Her local bank, who is very security minded, makes Mary set up security questions on her account so they can verify if Mary is the one accessing her account. Mary is very busy so she just does the normal security questions, mother's maiden name, etc. She doesn't want to, nor has time to think about it too much. Mary also loves social media and puts pictures of her family and pets on social media. 

    One day Mary goes online to check her balance and realizes money is missing. What happened? Did she leave her debit card somewhere? No, it's still in her purse! What happened?

    What happened is that Mary chose easy passwords and security questions/answers. A cyber thief figured out Mary's password was her dog's name. And when Mary changed her passwords as her bank advised, the thief was able to get the new one because he knew the security questions. How did he get them, you ask? Her social media account! Remember, she posted pictures of her dog and of her mother, tagging her in the photos, which shows her mother's maiden name!

    So what do you do? Get rid of your computer? Live like a hermit? No, I'm not suggesting anything that drastic. Here are a few tips:

    • When choosing or creating security questions, make them something people don't know and won't know about you. (Consider providing a different answer to the security question than what the correct answer would be.)
    • Make your passwords difficult to crack. Use letters and characters. Check and change them often. 
    • Be careful what you post on social media. Talking about your family is certainly OK, but if something you are posting is an answer to your security question, think again before you post.

    Everyone loves social media. It truly is a great tool for connecting with others. But, with just a little work, you can make it safer and help protect against fraud. 

  • Small Business - Protect Against Account Takeover

    Monday, September 24, 2012

    Do you own a small business? Did you know that small business is one of the top targets for online fraud? According to Symantec's June 2012 Symantec Intelligence Report, 36 percent of all targeted attacks during the first half of 2012 were directed at businesses with 250 or fewer employees and they continue to increase at a minimum rate of 24 percent with an average of 151 targeted attacks being blocked each day during May and June.

    As a business owner you must take steps to protect yourself against online fraud such as corporate account takeover. The American Bankers Association defines corporate account takeover:

    What is Corporate Account Takeover?
    Corporate account takeover is a type of fraud where thieves gain access to a business' finances to make unauthorized transactions, including transferring funds from the company, creating and adding new fake employees to payroll, and stealing sensitive customer information that may not be recoverable.

    The American Bankers Association has created a resource for small business owners to access information about account takeover and steps to take to protect yourself and your business. Please go to the American Bankers Association website for more information regarding Corporate Account Takeover.

    Remember, you can call us anytime. Let us know if you have questions or concerns for your bank accounts. Call 800-382-8031 or email us at customersupport@bankwithmutual.com.  

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