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Online Cybersecurity

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is simply a general term for technologies, practices and processes used to protect online data from unauthorized access or misuse. Everyday, people play a part in cybersecurity when they follow internet safety tips and cybersecurity best practices. In this piece, we’ll discuss what we mean when we say cybersecurity, and why it’s important. We’ll also share about cybersecurity trends and various tips for maintaining privacy and security on the internet.

Online Security And Buzzwords To Know
When it comes to learning about cybersecurity and internet safety, it can feel like wading through a lot of technical jargon. There are many helpful cybersecurity terms to know, but we’re sharing just a few of the most common online safety buzzwords:
  • Data Breach A data breach is any incident that results in confidential data or personal information being shared, stolen or otherwise transmitted. Scammers and hackers often target business like banks and major retailers in order to access personal financial information, but data breaches can occur anywhere. For more information about responding to data breaches, check out these resources.
  • Malware Malware is any malicious software intended to disable or infect a device’s functionality. Some malware allows a hacker to control a device remotely. Users can avoid malware by using antivirus software and following technology best practices.
  • Back-ups Backing up data means saving a copy of the data on a separate storage device, like an external hard drive. Many people also use cloud storage to keep back-ups online.
  • Cloud Storage The “cloud” is just a way to talk about online networks and storage. Cloud storage is distinct from local storage, which includes your computer’s hard drive. When you save something to the cloud, it is simply stored on one of many remote servers located throughout the world.
Why Is Cybersecurity Important?
Modern life is fundamentally intertwined with the internet. Nearly every daily task now has opportunity for online integration, and most everyone owns multiple devices, including laptops, phones, tablets, smart watches, smart TVs and more. The more accounts and devices you have online, the greater the potential is for criminals to access your personal information and take advantage of you.
Online safety is important no matter your age or life stage, but there are particular concerns for certain vulnerable groups like children, teenagers and senior citizens.
Internet Safety For Kids
Parents, this section is for you. If you have children of any age, you need a strategy for how to keep your kids safe online. The internet can be a great tool for learning and entertainment, but children should only look at age-appropriate images, videos and information.
Parental controls and content filters are a great place to start. Search engines have “safe search” features for filtering objectionable content, and there are even special search engines for kids. Cell phones also have parental control options and apps to help parents keep kids safe while online. Unfortunately, some hackers and online predators find ways to bypass filters and censorship efforts.
Some content that appears to be designed for children may have hidden disturbing violent or sexual content. When it doubt, be cautious. Watch videos before children are allowed to watch them, and be wary of games with built-in chat functions. Encourage your children to avoid talking to strangers online, and make sure they’re aware of online dangers. There’s no need to be paranoid, just take basic safety precautions, monitor your children’s internet usage and talk to them about how to stay safe online.
Internet Safety For Teens
As kids grow up, they will use the internet without direct supervision. We encourage parents to continue having conversations about cybersecurity and online safety in order to ensure teenagers are creating healthy internet habits. Here are some quick internet safety tips for teens:
  • Limit Technology Use Use an app like Apple’s Screen Time to monitor and restrict phone, tablet and computer use. Similar apps exist for Android phones and other devices.
  • Keep Devices Out of Bedrooms If computers, phones and tablets are allowed only in common areas in the house, it’s easier to monitor usage. You could implement a rule that all family members — including parents — charge their devices in the kitchen or living room overnight. It would benefit you, too! Studies have shown that limiting screen usage before bed increases sleep quality.
  • Talk About the Internet Teenagers should feel comfortable going to their parents or guardians with concerns about things they see online. Try to be open with your kids about the dangers of the internet, and let them know you’re there to help and protect them.
  • Prepare Them For the Future As youngsters, children depend on their parents and guardians to provide protection and advice, but parents should also prepare their children for independence. Talk to children about things like responsible banking, password safety and data protection.
Teenagers and young adults may be more susceptible to certain types of online scams, like student loan forgiveness scams. Protecting kids online starts with teaching foundational internet safety tips at a young age.

Safety Tips

  • When creating a new password, pay attention to strong password requirements.

  • Change your passwords often.

  • Don’t share your passwords with other people.

  • Don’t use common, easily guessable passwords.

  • Make sure passwords and password hints are stored securely. Record passwords in an encrypted file on your computer, or select another secure password storage method.

  • When you sign up for something online, read the terms and conditions.

  • Never enter your financial information on a website that isn’t secure (look for the padlock or "https://" prefix in the browser address bar).

  • If you suspect your credit card information is being misused online, turn off your card using the SNB SD mobile banking app.

It’s important to protect your personal information offline, too, because once sensitive information is stolen it can be proliferated online. Remember tips like shielding the PIN pad when you make purchases and learning how to spot a credit card skimmer at gas pumps. Using a chip debit card is another way to protect your financial information. The more sophisticated chip technology is just one reason why the chip card is more secure than the traditional magnetic strip debit card.

  • Utilize passwords and other security options like fingerprint readers and face scanning technology. One report stated that 30% of smartphone users didn’t use passwords, screen locks or other security features to lock their phones.

  • Secure all devices, including computers, phones, tablets and devices like smartwatches and smart TVs.

  • romptly install software updates, especially when they include important security upgrades.

  • Set up automatic updates on your devices so you never miss one!

  • Do not trust public wifi security. Avoid connecting to unsecured public wifi networks.

  • Make sure your own wifi networks are protected with strong passwords.

  • Remember tip #1 and change your wifi password frequently.

  • Enable two-factor authentication in order to prevent hackers from accessing your personal accounts and information.

  • Add this extra layer of security to keep your accounts safe even if someone knows your password.

  • Back up important personal information on external hard drives.

  • Create new back-ups regularly.


A little bit of vigilance goes a long way when it comes to protecting your identity online. Adding an extra layer of security can be as simple as keeping an eye on your accounts, looking out for suspicious activity and shredding sensitive documents. Some data breaches are out of our control, like when retailers or other companies get hacked. We have to trust certain entities to hand personal data, but we encourage people to do all they can to protect their private information.
Complete privacy is difficult in the digital age, so users must be cautious and wary. Take these precautions to make sure identity thieves don’t steal your personal information.


Keeping an eye on your credit is an important way to make sure no one is trying to mess with your personal financial information. If you want to see who is making inquiries about you credit, you can request a free credit report from any of the three national credit reporting companies:

We recommend reviewing your credit reports occasionally in order to make sure there is no suspicious activity and everything appears as expected.

If you want an extra layer of protection, a credit freeze is an effective line of defense against fraud and identity theft. As of September 2018, there is no cost, so learn how to freeze your credit for free.


Pay attention to statements, receipts and bills. If you’re signed up for electronic bills or statements, it’s easy for them to get lost in your email inbox. Regularly looking at statements will help you notice if there is suspicious activity happening in any of your accounts. If you become a target for fraud, you’ll want to catch it as soon as possible and contact your bank for help.


Don’t throw sensitive documents in the trash! Use a paper shredder or shredding service to dispose of anything with your full name, phone number, address, social security number, bank account information or other private personal details. Check out this helpful shredding guide, and consider shredding documents such as:

  • ATM Receipts

  • Bank and Credit Card Statements

  • Paid Bills and Invoices

  • Pay Stubs

  • Credit Offers


You’re more vulnerable to certain types of fraud and identity theft while traveling. If you want to protect your identity online while traveling, take extra precautions. Let your bank know where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone and ask the post office to hold your mail. If any bills are due while you’re gone, see if you can plan payments before you leave.

While you’re on your trip, observe extra safety measures to protect your personal items and information.

  • If you need to pay a bill online while you’re away, make sure you’re connected to a secure wifi network.

  • Ask your hotel if your room has a safe, and use the safe to protect valuables and extra cash when you’re not in your room.

  • Exercise caution when using your debit card to pay local vendors and retailers; when in doubt, pay with cash.

  • Carry copies of important travel documents, and make sure to store them separately from the original versions. It’s also a good idea to have a digital copy of your passport stored online, just in case.

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