Practicing Strong IT Security Habits | WaterStone Bank

Many people use a computer on a daily basis for a variety of tasks such as online banking, working, and storing sensitive information. Recently, scammers and hackers have been intensifying their methods of obtaining your information fraudulently, making it harder to recognize before you become a victim. Staying vigilant online and being aware of certain scam tactics allows you to effectively protect your personal information, computer, and finances.

What is a Virus?

A virus is a small piece of malicious software that is connected to real programs or e-mail attachments. Viruses are virtually undetectable until the user downloads and opens the attachment. The computer becomes infected very quickly -- sometimes without the user even knowing, and all the data stored is now visible to the hacker. 

What is Malware?

Malware is a certain type of virus that performs a variety of unwanted functions on the user's computer when infected. When malware is downloaded, pop-up ads may be shown, your e-mail may be spammed with unsolicited messages, and your internet activity may be logged and recorded for the hacker to discern.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is similar to malware in the sense that it can be unknowingly downloaded onto a computer by opening unsolicited e-mail attachments, downloading pirated software, or even viewing websites with embedded malware. Once ransomware is downloaded, the stakes intensify as it loads an encryption code onto the computer, ultimately locking access to either certain data or the computer itself. The hacker responsible will not remove the encryption until a ransom fee is paid. Businesses with weak cybersecurity systems continue to be the highest target of ransomware attacks, resulting in temporary or permanent loss of sensitive information, as well as extensive financial losses. 

What are some preventative measures to take when recognizing scams?

Staying vigilant and recognizing warning signs is your best defense against scammers. Knowing how these scams work and the signs to look for will enable you to act before it's too late. Additionally, there are some extra precautions you can take to ensure comprehensive computer security.

  • Always pay close attention to unknown attachments and e-mail messages and report any suspicious messages immediately.
  • Avoid downloading pirated music, movies, and video games. 
  • Back up your computer data regularly, preferably to an external disk or hard drive.
  • Do not click on unsolicited links or ads in e-mail messages or unsecured websites.
  • Utilize anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Make sure they are set to automatically update and run regular scans.
  • Carefully read End User Agreements before clicking accept. Be aware of the phrase "Third party software may be installed".
  • Report all fraudulent activity to The Federal Trade Commission or The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center, even if a scam was only attempted. 

Remember that WaterStone Bank will not call you directly and ask for your personal information. If you have any questions or believe you may have fell victim to a scam, please call our Customer Support Center at (414) 761-1000 or your local branch immediately.

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