While risk assessments and vulnerability detection are important system-level procedures for enhancing cybersecurity, there are also steps you can take. Stay smart and secure online by following these eight tips.

1. Check links before clicking. The links in websites or emails are not necessarily the ones you’ll be directed to. Before clicking on an unsolicited link, hover over it to check the destination URL or simply type the URL you know into the address bar. You can also use a virus checker like VirusTotal.

2. Use secure websites for financial transactions. Online banking or any online financial transaction warrants greater scrutiny. The first step: Make sure the address begins with https:// and look for a padlock icon on the left of the address bar to indicate the site is encrypted and verified.

3. Use official banking apps. Most banks, credit unions or other financial institutions offer specialized mobile banking apps. Downloading these apps from the official site removes the risk of inadvertently giving details to an imposter through your phone.

4. Use two-level authentication. One of the strongest cybersecurity measures, two-level authentication goes one step beyond username and password by requiring a one-time code to proceed. You can set two-level authentication on a per-computer basis, a best practice in a public library or hotel business center to help thwart hackers. Even if your password is stolen, your account remains secure.

5. Set strong passwords. A strong password contains 20 characters and a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers unique to your account. Want to make it even stronger? Change it at least once every 30 days. Doing so not only makes your password harder to guess. It also protects your other accounts if one account is compromised.

6. Log out. When you finish using an online banking platform, don’t simply close the window. Log out to prevent hackers from gaining access to sensitive financial data. You can also use private browsing sessions to stop your browser from recording web history, login credentials and cookies.

7. Don’t interact with suspicious emails. A classic scheme, phishing emails use threats or urgency to get you to click on a link and log into your account. The link usually takes you to a look-alike page that steals your information. The email may also ask you to download or open an attachment that releases malware. Do not click on the links or attachments. If you’re unsure of the legitimacy of an email from LUSO Federal Credit Union, call us instead.

8. Get a good antivirus program and keep it updated. Rather than rely on your computer’s default program, find a good antivirus software package and update it regularly to keep up with new viruses and malware. That goes for other software applications like Adobe and your web browser too.

Want more information on how to stay safe and secure online?