Archive for the ‘ Technology ’ Category

Required Password Change

On February 14th at 8am, Citizens Bank Minnesota is enabling mandatory password changes in our NetTeller online banking product.  Passwords will be required to change every 60 days and previous passwords cannot be reused.  We realize that our customers count on us to protect their information and accounts. The benefit of regularly changing a password outweighs the difficulty of changing it. We are available to assist you with any questions this change may bring. Please contact us at 800-549-0194 or 507-354-3165.

Recent data breaches provide the best example demanding timely password changes.  Zappos.com, for example, recently had a database containing 24 million customer records that were stolen.  Several forms of fraud could potentially begin after a breach of such magnitude.  This is an important example on why requiring password changes may help keep you protected.

A few best practices:

  • Change your password NOW in the “Options” menu within your Online Banking account.
  • Fill out the “Password Reset Question and Answer” in the options menu. This is the question that you must answer to automatically reset your own password. Without this filled out you have to contact the bank to reset.
  • Use a stronger password than required. Here is a good password primer from a trusted resource: http://krebsonsecurity.com/password-dos-and-donts/
  • Never use your web browser to save a password. There are computerized password management tools, but Citizens doesn’t endorse a password management tool.
  • Use a different password for online banking than any other website, or at least use a different password than your email, Facebook, or online shopping accounts.
  • Consider the security of the computer you are using to access online banking. Do you own it? Is it infected? Is it on a publicly accessible wireless network? Is it a public computer? Would you be willing to type your most private secret onto the computer?

By: Jason Wieland, IT Manager

Security research firm creates website to check for compromised accounts

Two researchers from HP Tipping Point have created a website http://www.pwnedlist.com to help determine if a username or email address has been compromised by hackers and dumped to the Internet.  The hacker term is pwned, which is a computer gaming term spoken as “owned”.  The website is a secure resource and will not give any of the account details.  It is simply a way to raise red flags so that compromised account passwords are changed, etc.  There are almost 5 million records in the database!

If anyone has a positive hit please feel free to contact me at Citizens Bank Minnesota.  It is good to let your bank know, but I am also more than willing to be an advisor: https://www.citizensmn.com

Anyone who wants to see more news about current investigations and top IT security issues can also follow these resources:

By: Jason Wieland, IT Manager

The Advantages to Direct Deposit

Do you have the option to directly deposit your paycheck at work?  You may have ignored it, thinking you don’t need it; you may want to reconsider.

Direct Deposit is faster, safer, convenient and free.  No more waiting for the postal service to arrive with your paycheck.  No need to wait in line at the bank to cash your paycheck.  Even if you are out of town, sick or unable to get to your financial institution, your paycheck is in your account the day it is issued.  No more lost or stolen checks.  The best of all is that the electronic transfer system is FREE.

Once you have automated your paycheck, consider saving even more by automating your payments as well.  As the price of a postage stamps rises, so does the cost savings of paying your bills online.

The rise of electronic payments makes excellent food for thought.

By: Kathy Drexler, Operations Manager, Asst. Cashier

Security Tip

Security research firm creates website to check for compromised accounts:

Two researchers from HP Tipping Point have created a website http://www.pwnedlist.com to help determine if a username or email address has been compromised by hackers and dumped to the Internet.  The hacker term is pwned, which is a computer gaming term spoken as “owned”.  The website is a secure resource and will not give any of the account details.  It is simply a way to raise red flags so that compromised account passwords are changed, etc.  There are almost 5 million records in the database!

If anyone has a positive hit please feel free to contact me at Citizens Bank Minnesota. It is good to let your bank know, but I am also more than willing to be an advisor: https://www.citizensmn.com

Anyone who wants to see more news about current investigations and top IT security issues can also follow these resources:

By: Jason Wieland, IT Manager

How to Back up Your Computer

The modern home computer stores a wealth of information. Losing information is more painful now than ever before and this fact has driven some to back up a home computer much like a business.  Consider the pictures, videos, emails, documents, homework, tax information, and more that we all store – what would you lose? The good news is that there are powerful backup tools to help you today.

There is a new generation of tools that can simply and automatically synchronize all your computers together.  Services like Dropbox or Trend Micro SafeSync can even sync between your computers and your phone.  No more digging through 4 different home computers to find that one file you need.  This type of solution is powerful with even one computer because the service also backs up your information. This way, you can always access or download the files back to any computer.  These services also encrypt your data so there is solid security protecting you.

Dropbox has a free tier for the first 5GB of data, which covers 80% of all home users and Trend Micro is more cost effective in the paid tiers:

https://www.dropbox.com/pricing

http://us.trendmicro.com/us/products/personal/safe-sync/

By: Jason Wieland, IT Manager

Connecting Us to Connect You

The Citizens Connection is the newest department at Citizens Bank Minnesota. We focus on providing extraordinary client experiences and aim to offer immediate solutions at the first point of contact when available.

How can you reach us?

  • 1-800-549-0194
  • 1-507-354-3165
  • Online Banking – Secure messaging
  • Online Chat via – www.citizensmn.com

When can you reach us?

  • Monday – Friday 7:30 am – 5:30 pm
  • Saturday 8:00 am – Noon

What can we offer to you?

Online Banking

  • New account request
  • Enroll request – bill pay, bank to bank transfers
  • Reset locked accounts
  • Troubleshooting
  • Plus More!

Check Cards

  • New card requests
  • Limit changes upon approval
  • Lost or stolen cards
  • Troubleshooting
  • Plus More!
    (Please note: Call prior to traveling to help ensure approval for out of state/country check card purchases.)

General Help

  • Hours and location information
  • Balance and transaction inquiries
  • Product information
  • CD Rates
  • Check orders and reorders
  • Address and telephone changes
  • Fund Transfers
  • Telephone banking questions
  • Troubleshooting
  • Plus More!

We highly value the satisfaction of our customers during each and every interaction and transaction. We look forward to hearing from you!

By: Melissa Bergeman, Citizens Connection Manager/Complaint Resolution Officer

New Computer – first things first

The Internet is not a scary place if we use some common sense to protect ourselves. Most malicious activities entice you to take an action and the fraudsters only get better as we learn their tactics. If you are able to do these 4 things you will be better off than most: 

1. Learn your security software. While there is nothing that will completely protect you from all the bad stuff on the Internet, good security software will take you a long ways. Security software with a paid subscription is best, but you need to make sure that it stays up to date and that you continue paying for updates from year to year. 

2. Learn how to check for updates. Both Windows and Mac have update utilities that you should understand how to use. The updates do typically install automatically, but some updates still require your interaction to complete. “Windows Update” can be found in the start menu and “Apple Update” is in the Apple menu. 

3. Be careful what you click. Did you know some countries can measure fraud income as a percentage of their gross domestic income?  The combination of weak punishment of fraud perpetrated over the Internet and the weakened economy has created an outbreak of Internet fraud.  Read unexpected messages received through email or Facebook with an air of distrust.  Most fraud is perpetrated by enticing you into clicking upon something then willingly giving out your personal information.  If you receive an email promising something that is too good to be true (like money or a free gift) then it probably is too good to be true.  There are good resources on the Internet – like www.snopes.com or simply searching Google – to help you discover false information. 

4. Have a resource you can call upon for help.  Your bank is a good starting point because they are already good at protecting your information and ultimately your money.  It is also good to have someone who can help you learn and troubleshoot your computer.

By: Jason Wieland, IT Manager

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