Archive for the ‘ Technology ’ Category

Citizens Bank Minnesota Installs New Phone System

Citizens Bank Minnesota has just installed a new phone system with many enhanced features that will allow greater capacity of service for all of our locations. Our main phone numbers will remain the same.

  • New Ulm         507-354-3165             Toll-free:  1-800-549-0194
  • Lafayette        507-228-8283             Toll-free: 1-800-459-7563
  • La Salle           507-375-3537             Toll-free: 1-877-308-9546
  • Lakeville          952-469-1919                    

When installing any new technology, as you know, there may be technical difficulties encountered. In an effort to continue a high level of customer service, as a precaution, a trouble-shooting phone line has been installed. It is our goal to resolve any situations if they occur. If you call and are unable to reach a Citizens bank representative at the numbers listed above, and it is during business hours, please call 507-233-7524 or email customerservice@citizensmn.com to report the situation.

Thank you for your business!

Sincerely,

Citizens Bank Minnesota             

Online Enemies

As a bank IT Manager, I get the question “Why do people write viruses, spyware, or other forms of hacking on the Internet.”  The answer isn’t always clear because everyone uses the Internet in different ways, but the most common reasons that I can easily explain are:

  1. for Money
  2. for Prestige
  3. for Fun
  4. to Cause Damage

Realistically, many forms of crime fit into those same reasons; Trend Micro recently posted this nice graphic depicting the types of attacks that come from online “enemies” both near and far: http://blog.trendmicro.com/know-your-enemies-online.

By: Jason Wieland, IT Manager

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

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