By A. Scott Anderson
President and CEO, Zions Bank
Cybersecurity Is Everyone’s Responsibility
In today’s world, digital devices, services and networks are ubiquitous and almost miraculous in their myriad uses, convenience and value.
Most of us could barely function without our smartphones, tablets and computers to access websites, apps, email, entertainment, and to pay bills, purchase most any product, manage accounts, navigate to a location, look up an obscure fact, and check activities of a friend or family member on social media.
All of this convenience, connectivity, entertainment and productivity comes with a dark side, however. Hackers, cyber thieves and other criminals lurk in every corner of the digital world, seeking to steal identities, intercept online commerce, plant viruses, inappropriately connect with children, and make life difficult for users of digital devices and networks.
Most of us are just one click away, a few times each day, from downloading viruses and malware as we open email and surf the internet. Every second, 12 adults become victims of cybercrime, according to the digital security firm Symantec. And 41 percent of online adults have sustained attacks such as malware, viruses, hacking, scams, fraud and theft.
Frequently, the news media report on massive data breaches involving personal records of millions of people. Even large corporations and government agencies have been hit. In mid-May, some 200,000 computers in 150 countries were hit with the WannaCry ransomware virus, nearly shutting down some hospitals and critical services.
At Zions, protecting customer data is one of the bank’s top priorities. We go to extraordinary lengths to monitor our databases and computer systems and continually update and upgrade the most robust security software protections available. We know that we host our customers’ sensitive personal financial information, and we do everything possible to protect it. Brad Nelson, Zions Bancorporation’s information security threat intelligence and response manager, outlines several ways consumers can better protect their data and reduce cybercrime. He is a retired U.S. Army colonel with more than 30 years of experience with intelligence and security programs.
• Be very careful using public Wi-Fi. Never make online purchases, access sensitive accounts or send documents with private information using public Wi-Fi.
• Use security on your smart phone. Use a lock screen, passwords and an anti-virus app. Don’t store sensitive data on your smart phone. Anything on your phone can be stolen when it connects to public Wi-Fi.
• Create robust passwords (use numbers, letters and symbols), change them frequently and don’t use the same password for multiple vendors or sites.
• At home, don’t use the default password that came with your Wi-Fi router. Change it after logging in. Every computer, phone and tablet in your home should be protected.
• Keep antivirus software up-to-date. Most programs update automatically, but make manual updates if necessary. Zions Bank offers the IBM® Security Trusteer Rapport™ security software application free of charge. Beware of scareware: pop-up ads that trick you into thinking your computer is infected and ask for a payment to fix it.
• Never reveal passwords or financial information online unless you have initiated the contact. Avoid opening questionable links and attachments in emails and texts, especially those from unknown senders.
• Monitor accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Sign up for text or email alerts. Zions Bank offers mobile alerts that send text messages to you when suspicious activity occurs. Order a free copy of your credit report every four months from one of the three credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com.
Your data is as safe as is possible with Zions Bank. It’s reassuring to remember that Americans spend $3 trillion each year safely and securely with their credit and debit cards, according to the American Bankers Association. Zions Bank is constantly improving technology to safeguard against ever-changing threats.
As we all do our part, we can avoid becoming victims of cybercrime. To learn more, visit the Zions Bank Online Security Center under the Learning Center tab