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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. 

  • What Should You Do If Your Email Account is Hacked?

    Tuesday, July 31, 2012

    We have seen an increased number of customers who have had their email accounts hacked…in other words someone has gained unauthorized access to an email account and may attempt to commit fraud using your email account.

    Signs that your email account might be hacked:

    • You cannot get logged into your email account and/or not able to reset your password.
    • Your friends report to you that they are getting strange or large numbers of email from you.
    • Your inbox is full of message failure notices that you didn’t send.
    • There are messages in your Sent, Draft or Outbox folders that you don’t recognize.
    • Your email signature lines have changed…look for additional links and odd phone numbers listed.
    • Your contact list has been deleted and/or there are contacts you don’t recognize.
    • You’re not getting any email messages at all.

    What to do if you suspect your email account is hacked:

    • Change your password…if you are unable to do so call your email provider immediately…be prepared to supply additional verification to them on who you are.
    • Notify folks in your address book to be on the lookout for spam and phishing type emails from you.
    • Notify your bank immediately that your email account has been compromised so they can be on the lookout for fraudulent account transaction requests…do this even if you don’t bank via the Internet.
    • Consider closing the email account out and establishing a new email address.
    • Consider having a backup email account that you don’t publish to anyone in order to have a means to communicate via email and some providers offer password recovery services to backup primary email accounts.

    Steps to protecting your email account:

    • Frequently (at least every 90 days) change your email account password.
    • Do not store any passwords in email especially passwords to Internet banking.
    • Do not store account numbers or account statements in email folders.  Store them offline on your computer and back them up preferably to a separate disk drive.
    • Review your bank accounts activity online at least weekly looking for suspicious transactions.
    • Empty the trash folder when you close email.
    • Do not click on links inside of an email from an unknown source.
    • Make sure your computers have virus/malware detection/removal software that is updated frequently.
      (Many times your Internet Service Provider provides these tools free of charge.)
    • Remember that if something in an email sounds too good to be true…it probably is.
    • Only share your email with friends on social media sites making sure that it’s not visible to everyone on your public profile.

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

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