We live in a world that is more connected than ever before. The Internet touches almost all aspects of everyone's daily life, whether you realize it or not. We connect with friends and family, conduct business and banking online and rely on many services that are supported with online systems.

As technology advances, our lives become easier and more connected. However, being constantly connected brings increased risk of theft, fraud, and abuse. No country, industry, community, or individual is immune to cyber risks. As a nation, we face constant cyber threats. As individuals, cybersecurity risks can threaten our finances, identity, and privacy.

Keeping the digital world secure requires all of us to be proactive and diligent. Learn how you can #BeCyberSmart. Bank of Lake Mills is committed to educating and protecting our customers from fraud throughout the year.

Practice good online safety habits with these tips and advice.

Cybersecurity is Everyone's Job 

No matter your career or position, it is everyone's job to practice good cybersecurity. Organizations and homes cannot be secure without each and every person doing their part. Online safety and security are a responsibility we all share.

If You Connect It - Protect It 

The line between our online and offline lives is indistinguishable. This network of connections creates both opportunities and challenges for individuals and organizations across the globe. Any device that connects to the internet is vulnerable to risks. The best defense is to keep device security software, web browsers, and operating systems up to date. Don't forget to update yours regularly. 

Own Your Online Presence

Every time you sign up for a new account, download a new app, or get a new device, immediately configure the privacy and security to limit how much data you share. Regularly check these settings, at least once a year, to make sure they are all configured to protect your sensitive information.

Keep a Clean Machine

Keep all software on internet connected devices, including personal computers, smartphones, and tablets, current to reduce risk of infection from ransomware and malware. Configure your devices to automatically update or to notify you when an update is available.

Lock Down Your Login

Create long and unique passphrases for all accounts and use multifactor authentication (MFA) wherever possible. MFA will fortify your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics or a unique one-time code sent to your phone or mobile device. Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passwords for each of your accounts.

Think Before You Click

If you receive an enticing offer via email or text, don't be so quick to click on the link. Instead, go directly to the company's website to verify it is legitimate. If you are unsure who an email is from, even if the details appear accurate, or if the email looks "phishy," do not respond, do not click on any links, and do not open any attachments found in that email as they may be infected with malware.

When in Doubt - Throw It Out 

Links in email, tweets, texts, posts, social media messages, and online advertising are the easiest way for cyber criminals to get your sensitive information. Be wary of clicking on links or downloading anything that comes from a stranger or that you were not expecting. When available, use the "junk" or "block" option to no longer receive messages from a particular sender. Don't trust those links.

WiFi Hotspots

Public wireless networks and hotspots are not secure, which means that anyone could potentially see what you are doing on your laptop, smartphone, or tablet while you are connected to them. Limit what you do on public WiFi, and avoid accessing key accounts like email and bank accounts. Consider using a virtual private network (VPN) or a personal / mobile hotspot if you need a more secure connection.

Share with Care

Cybercriminals love it when you overshare on social media – they can learn all about you! Make it harder for them by avoiding posting real names, places you frequent, and home, school, or work locations. Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what a post reveals, who might see it, and how it might affect you or others. Consider creating an alternate persona that you use for online profiles to limit how much of your own personal information you share.

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 delete what you don't need or no longer use.
Cybersecurity Resources
BeCyberSmart: Arm yourself with knowledge to stay ahead of the game and take responsibility for your own cyber safety. You can learn about cybersecurity basics, common scams, and how to report cybersecurity incidents.

FBI Cyber Safety for Young Americans: FBI-SOS is a free, fun, and informative program that promotes cyber citizenship by educating students in third to eighth grade on the essentials of online security.

Federal Trade Commission Materials: The Federal Trade Commission has a library of free publications you can order for consumers and businesses. Materials include information on privacy, identity theft and small business scams.

National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) Resource Library: Learn how to protect yourself, your family and your business with free, downloadable, tip sheets, videos and other resources from NCSA.

National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS): Looking for information about a particular cybersecurity position or course? NICCS tools and resources are available for anyone seeking more information about the cybersecurity field.

NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Corner: This NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Corner disseminates consistent, clear, concise, and actionable resources for small businesses on cybersecurity guidance, solutions, and training.

STOP.THINK.CONNECT: The STOP. THINK. CONNECT.TM is a national public awareness campaign aimed at increasing the understanding of cyber threats and empowering the American public to be safer and more secure online.